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July 17, 2019

"The Greatest Comfort" by Sharon Patterson

There are many special memories of my mother although she left us far too soon at age 44.
Life had been a struggle for her most of her early years from the Depression, World War II, and epilepsy to name a few.
Despite hardship and struggle, Mother carved out some very precious memories for me not only as a little girl who loved coming home to a huge stack of the most delicious oatmeal raisin cookies. ( I knew how to eat an entire row of them so as not to divulge the exact number consumed!)

Her Saturday morning waffles were to die for. Today, I still make her Sunday pot roast and gravy doing every step of the process she taught me.  Her chocolate sheath cake was unrivaled by any other baker I knew including my grandmother.
Mother once walked every store in our little shopping center to drop my name in boxes located in each store for the Miss Meadowbrook Shopping Center Queen contest and I won! 
Always my greatest cheerleader and occasional critic, she maneuvered my teen years with grace and a few high-pitched corrections. Softening some of the verbal reprimands was a constant array of wonderful deserts at the end of bountifully delicious meals.

Such were the comforts afforded this daughter. Yet one comfort surpasses them all. It came at the end of a very trying day in college. I was engaged to a young soldier deployed during the dangerous TET Offensive in the fall of 1966. It had been almost 3 weeks since I had heard from him. Coming in the door from college I went straight to my room. Glancing in the kitchen, I noticed mother seated at the kitchen table. Distraught, tears streaming from my eyes, I sat on the bed.

Suddenly, I felt mother’s arms around me. There was no need to explain anything. She had not asked…it was as though she totally understood. She pressed ever closer and her warm embrace soothed my tears and comforted my heart. To this day, 55 years later, it remains not only one of my greatest memories of Mother, but the greatest comfort.

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women's ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.