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Local opinion columnists

Time to return Mother’s Day to Mom

By From page A11 | May 08, 2014

As I’ve written in the past, Mother’s Day is unfortunately tethered to death in my family. It was on Mother’s Day –  May 13, 1990 – when my brother Ken killed his girlfriend and himself at a lounge near Travis Air Force Base. I’ve tried in recent years to be better at honoring my mother and all mothers and seeing the day as a day of love instead of dread.

Anyone who knew my mother knows she was a kind-hearted person. She was fair, funny and generous and she lived her faith. When I picture my mom, I see her cleaning the house while humming a tune, anything from A.W. Dicus’ “Our God, He is Alive” to the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.”

My mother’s parenting was innovative. When I was a teen, I had a “party drawer.” Underneath clothes sat bottles of wine, cans of beer and packages of cigars. Imagine my horror one day when I went to retrieve my party favors and found nothing but empty bottles, cans and cigar wrappers. Mom had found my stash, dumped the contents and put the empties back in my drawer without saying a word to me. Well played, Mom.

One summer when I was 14 or 15, I sneaked off on my bike to this girl’s house on Pheasant Drive in Suisun City, which was a good ways from my house on Davis Drive in Fairfield. My jaw dropped when my mother drove up to the house yelling for me to “get home!” There was my younger brother Scott, sitting in the passenger seat eating an ice cream. My mom bribed him with an ice cream bar in exchange for my location.

If my mom told me to take out the garbage and I forgot to do it, I’d walk into my room and see a couple of full sacks of garbage sitting on my bed. When she got tired of telling me to stop leaving my shoes in the living room, I’d find my Converse in place of my pillow on my bed.

When I was older, my mom and I would play spades, Scrabble and chess. It was frequently during these games that she confided in me in a way that she never would have when I was a child. It’s a blessing when you can have a true friendship with your mom as an adult.

She told me she wanted my initials to be KJW like Ken’s, so when she had me, she looked through a book of baby names to find something unique. She thought “Kevin” was too common. She might as well have went with that name because I’m called “Kevin” every day anyway!

She confirmed that my paternal grandfather committed suicide and hadn’t died in the car accident as she’d told me when I was a child. She also confided in me that she lost a baby before my oldest brother Orvis was born. It made me wonder how life would’ve been if there’d been six Wade boys instead of five.

I was surprised when I heard her say in a support group that the fact that Ken had committed his horrible final act on Mother’s Day made no difference to her. There is no good day for one’s son to commit murder-suicide.

So this Sunday, I’ll reflect on Katy Wade of San Augustine, Texas. Valedictorian of her class in San Augustine Colored High School. Faithful and loving wife. Mother of five, almost six, boys. Loyal employee of Intercommunity/NorthBay Hospital. I’ll think of the funny things she did, the sacrifices she made and the moral compass and common sense she instilled in us boys. And I will mourn my brother and his girlfriend May 13.

Mother’s Day belongs to my mom. Peace.

Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 6 comments

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  • smwieserMay 08, 2014 - 3:36 am

    Mr. Wade I enjoy reading your thoughts and feelings. Thank you for sharing what a real family faces in life, the good, the bad, and the sad. Your Mom sounds like a special woman I would love to have had as a friend. Thanks to her smart parenting style she raised MEN that will pass on that wonderful parenting style.

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  • BaseballmomMay 08, 2014 - 7:09 am

    Beautiful column and tribute to your mom. May she rest in Peace. And may your brother and his girlfriend rest in Peace too.

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  • Tony WadeMay 08, 2014 - 8:43 am

    That was absolutely beautiful, Kel. I confess to sometimes feeling like some single people who are sick of Valentine's Day hype when it comes to Mother's Day. I just miss her. Truthfully, she had a long, slow decline of about a decade and I especially miss the person she was before all that. I'll still be sad Sunday, but this column really helped me to get perspective. Oh, and thanks for outing that snitch Scott. Sold you out for a Nutty Buddy! I would have at least upped it to a banana split before givin' you up! I love you!

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  • KelvinMay 08, 2014 - 11:02 am

    Thank you all. Yeah when I think about mom I think about playing games with her or holidays etc... Since my birthday was six days after hers she would give me the same birthday card I gave her with "Mom" crossed out and my name written in. Or I remember arguing with her and inevitably sometime during the argument she'd take my side leaving me in total confusion. Great technique. I use it today! I use her expressions with the grandkids. We've got to keep sayings like "eating a hound's bait and a dog's farewell" alive. If you google that phrase you'll only see my references. Yeah,, Scott sold me out. Wasn't the last time either! Yeah mom had a long decline and that was hard. But she lives on in all of us.

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  • Marlene StobbartMay 08, 2014 - 11:25 am

    Kelvin, as always enjoy your excellent column. To be brave enough to write personal happenings is unique, You are to be congratulated.

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  • clancyMay 08, 2014 - 11:38 am

    That was beautiful. Sounds like as great mom Have tears in my eyes.

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