‘She kept her pain to herself, always putting on a brave face. Mom was always standing tall.’: Woman remembers mother’s sacrifice and love for her family thanks to StoryWorth

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Bonny’s story is part of an ongoing collaboration between Love What Matters and StoryWorth, an online service that makes writing your loved one’s memoir (or your own)  as easy as writing an email. Click here to learn more about StoryWorth and begin capturing your loved one’s lifetime of memories to cherish forever.

“Where do I begin to speak of my mother, my friend, Emily Ellen Ward Butterfield?

Mom was very intelligent, a gifted writer, creative, devoted, and always encouraging. A mother of seven, creative juices simmered below all the household duties of caring for a large family. A good housekeeper she was not, a loving mother she was. She preferred reading, writing, or working crossword puzzles over cleaning the house, needing some intellectual challenges.

I have fond memories of sitting at the piano with her, Mom playing songs from the Methodist hymnal as we harmonized together. Or sharing our favorite Bible verses at the dining room table, the family gathering place.

I still wonder how, with four siblings younger than me, she found time to drive me several miles into the city to visit my boyfriend, or spend time together trying on silly hats in the department store. She encouraged me to participate in sports, drama, and music — loves we shared. I learned to love gardening from her. It was a therapeutic escape for her, from the stresses of working outside the home and the heartbreak of divorce after seventeen years of marriage.

She kept her pain to herself, always putting on a brave face with her stunning smile. Once, when the news of a divorce was trickling through the household, I came back from a long bike ride to find Mom ironing (a never ending job for her!) and talking with Dad, her eyes swollen and red from crying hard. She saw me, brightened, and cheerfully asked me all about my adventure that day — hiding her heartache for my sake.

After the divorce, Mom had to find work outside the home, and I was assigned the job of fixing dinners for five siblings. Even then, she did all the prep work, trying to keep my burden light. I gladly gave up after school gymnastics to help her with this new challenge. She started out with low paying positions, where she always did an outstanding job, and eventually worked her way up to writing for the Syracuse newspaper. At last! An outlet for her creativity.

I recently had our old home movies digitized. As our family gathered to watch the films, we saw Mom, always standing tall, loving her family, flashing her famous smile, holding yet another baby. Such sweet memories. Such a sweet, loving mom.”

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