Honoring My Mom, The Black Panther: A Trailblazer’s Legacy With Kimberly Anderson

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

 

This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the women who shape our lives with unwavering love, strength, and endless support. Join us for a deeply personal and inspiring conversation with Kimberly Anderson. She shares her remarkable story of honoring her mother, a trailblazer who defied societal expectations at 15 and built a strong, loving family. Through laughter and tears, Kim reflects on their unique bond, the challenges they faced, and the profound impact her mother had on her life, parenting style, and the values she cherishes today. Discover how Kim continues her mother’s legacy and gain insights into coping with grief and celebrating the enduring power of love and family. This episode is a heartfelt tribute to mothers everywhere, a testament to resilience, and a reminder of the irreplaceable influence mothers have on our lives.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide

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Honoring My Mom, The Black Panther: A Trailblazer’s Legacy With Kimberly Anderson

My guest on this episode is Ms. Kim Anderson. Kim and I intentionally selected her podcast to air during Mother’s Day, because we both know that it can be so difficult when your parent is not here. In honoring our mothers, Kim wanted to share about who her mother is and how she has become the woman she is because of her mom. I encourage you, as you read this, to remember and be encouraged by the memories that you have from your mom, that you celebrate her with your life, and know that we are on this journey with you. Let’s get into this conversation now. 

Hello, Widowhood. My guest is my good friend, Kim Anderson. I am just so grateful for her to be here for this episode. We are honoring her mother, and the episode that you’re receiving this will be right around Mother’s Day. Welcome Kim Anderson to the Widowhood. 

Hello, thank you for inviting me. Look forward to this conversation. 

Thank you. This conversation is about Kim being a daughter, Kim’s mother, and then we may get into some of Kim’s journey as far as being a mom, but being in this Mother’s Day week that we’re planning to do this, can be super hard when your mother is not here. Before we get into that part, tell us about your mom. 

My Trailblazing Mom

Oh my gosh, I tell you, my mom was a trailblazer. She was a young teenager when she had me. She was 15 years old. Back then, that was just like, “Are you kidding? How old is this gentleman that you’ve been seeing that we didn’t know about?” My dad was seven years older than her. It was one of those where they were forced to get married or my dad was going to jail. 

You said seven years? 

Seven years older than my mom. It was literally a shotgun wedding. 

My gosh. You hear about stuff like that and did you grow up hearing this story? 

Yes. My uncle told me this story numerous times. I’d laugh at that because they ended up being the best of friends, even though as the years went by. I have siblings, I’m the oldest of four, and things ended up not working out for them being married, but they ended up being the best of friends. 

You were saying, first I thought you were talking about your uncle being friends with your dad, you’re talking about your parents. 

My parents, yes. 

They were good friends, but not good partners as far as marriage. 

No, they were not, no. 

Do you recall how old you were when your parents separated? 

Yes, I was seven years old.

Wow, you can remember seven, girl? I cannot remember seven. 

You know what? I think I remember it because everyone would tell me that story. Everyone would say that. Even though my mom was single, she raised us as a single mom, we still saw our dad every weekend. 

I’m just going to put on the black card because there is this concept that all black men are out there and are not showing up and doing what they need to do. That idea and I’m so glad to be able to share it. Okay, the marriage didn’t work, but your dad’s responsibility as far as being a father and being responsible for this family that he put on this earth was vital to him. 

That was important but for my dad to have us on the weekend, it was always at his mom’s house because that’s where he lived. It was a dual responsibility. It wasn’t just on my dad. I think that helped him become a better dad because if he had to do that on his own, I don’t believe my dad could have done it. It was too much of a responsibility for him. 

Okay and back in that day, literally women were being trained to be mothers and sons were not where the dynamic is a little different in the year that we’re in now where the roles are shared on a different plane than what I think they were before. Going back to seven, what are some of the memories of your mom? 

My gosh, every day was something new. It was a light. She would always, even though she worked, she knew she had to work and she wanted to go back to school because I was the oldest of the four, I helped out with the kids. I was the second mom to my siblings. We could enable her to go back to school. It was just taking us to the park, putting affirmations on the back of the basement door about everything to do with life. 

She was all about looking into your African-American history. I always considered our mom, she was a Black Panther, but she was that woman. She wanted to instill in that in the reading knowledge, to gain knowledge with reading and books. Even though we did not go out to dinner, she always said every month she would take us out to dinner so we would know and learn how to eat out in public. That was one of her pet peeves about that.

 

 

You talked about your mom raising you, and you talked about your mom being so determined to be independent. What did that look like for your mom, and how did that show up in her life? 

My mom, she knew she did not finish high school. She could not by having me so young, and she always wanted to have more education. My mom went back to school, worked full-time, and became a single mom. She was determined, but I was the oldest of four, I was able to be a sister, she knew she could trust me in the siblings in the home while she did what she needed to do. That is something that has been inspiring me because I don’t have a degree. I’ve been working on my degree for so many years. I have 33 credits. I said I would get that degree before I retired. That’s something inspiring and something I look forward to because I saw my mom do it. 

When your mom was returning to continue her education. Did you have a sense of how important it was and why she was doing it? Are you just like, mom’s going back to school, and if so, what point did you realize how important that was what she was doing? 

I realized it was so important because she would get a better promotion at her job. I said, okay, this is doing something, that was a good thing. She did the right thing at the right time. 

Wow, so your mom just inspired with the note cards. Just how much time for her to get up and feed her children, not just food, but spiritually into your soul and doing that, going out to do what she needs to do, going to work, going to school, showing you that Black Panther woman and everything that she was doing and attacking life and showing you that. 

Absolutely right. It was hard for her because my mom lost her mom when she was 18 years old and I was born already. It was from a simple surgery, a hysterectomy, go well. And she always remembers that loss. 

Your mom had her mother taken from her very early in age when she was just becoming a mother and she had to figure that out. Did you watch your mom grieve or did you see that in her at all? 

Not at times when she would get depressed. I was three years old when my grandmother passed. Holiday time because this was once again after Thanksgiving. My mother always had this thing with the holidays, always. 

Okay, wow. I am so glad to hear that because people need to know the journey. It lets them know that they are not alone and what they are dealing with and other people out here pressing on with them. 

Absolutely right. 

Thank you. 

You’re welcome. 

You are the second mom to your siblings. Then you mentioned affirmations. Where did you find these affirmations in the house? How did that come about and do you remember any of those? 

They would be on index cards taped to the back of the basement door to let us know who you are, and where you came from and her favorite, I always remember was the serenity prayer. That was one that she always felt was an affirmation even though it was a prayer, but it was letting us know to look towards the serenity prayer as we were growing older. 

You were leaving to go out the door to go to school, go do whatever it is, and do you see this card? Did you guys read it together as a collective out loud or how did that go? 

We read it separately, but it was one thing my mom instilled in us to always read it at any time, it could be together, but a lot of us, didn’t have the time to do it together. We would always see it and sometimes you think at the back door. You’re not going to read it but you cannot help but look at these index cards on this back door to let you know to start your journey for the day. 

Wow, just the impact of that too. It gives me the idea when they say, “Straighten up your crown, remember who you are.” “Life may be difficult and things may be going on, but know what that stands for.” Wow. You then mentioned about reading and history. What did that look like if you could go into that a little bit more? 

What that looked to me was my mom would take us to the library, and she always said it did not have to always be a Black author. She said I wanted you to learn anything about life or something that you found interesting that you would like and I’ll never forget the first one was Judy Blume. Are you there? God, it’s me, Margaret. That was the first thing I can remember of her taking us to the library. That was the book that I was just attracted to. My first book. 

Your mom introduced you to reading. And you can still remember your first book. How have you maintained a love for reading? How has that gone over the years?

It’s always something I’m reading every day, every day. I have four children and all the children, the oldest child, I’m the only one that reads avidly. 

How about your siblings? If any of them are avid readers? 

My brother, he’s the only other one. 

That’s 50-50. Two out of four. Those are good odds. That was your youth growing up. What was your mom’s discipline style? 

She was so easygoing, we gave her no problems. Not that we were perfect, she wanted to be a mom, but she also wanted to be our friend. I want to be honest, our house was the party house growing up, but you always respected Ms. Vicki’s home. There was never any trouble. We can party at home. She felt like, “I don’t want you out there in the street to get into trouble, that I don’t want.” “Stay at home and be a lady, be a gentleman at home. Don’t get out there in the streets and cut up an act of fool.” 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: She wanted to be a mom, but she also wanted to be our friend.

How did that resonate with your parenting style? 

You know what? It’s so funny because I have adopted that same parenting. It worked for us. It did. Our children have not given us any problems with growing up and now everyone is grown. 

Somebody may hear that and go, oh my gosh, I don’t want them partying in the house but at the same time, you have an idea of what’s going on in their world. You are now being able to engage with all of their friends. There’s a trust that’s been established because they don’t have to go out sneaking and doing something. You’ve empowered them. Were there curfews or was it just all however the children wanted or how did that go for you? 

It was more however children wanted it and that was fine but there was a time that my mom would be like, Okay,11:00 PM It’s time for everyone to go home. She wanted us in the house and that was OK. 

That’s how you probably tied them like, “Okay, you all got to go.” 

Yes, it is time to go home.

Was your mom out there dancing with you guys at the party or she just was in the house nearby? 

She would do both. When she got tired, she would go upstairs, and then as we got older ike 16years old or 17 years old, she would get to the point where she’d say, “I can go out for one night on my own, go out for a few hours and let you young people have the house.” She did respect us enough and trust us enough that she felt she didn’t have to be in the home at the same time.

Becoming A Wife And Mother

At 16, your mom allowed you to have company and she was out of the house. I did not see any of that in my whole life. Stop. I didn’t get any of that. No ma’am. That sounds like a dream. Those were your teenage years. What did it look like as you became an adult in the relationship with your mom? How did that change? 

We ain’t no stop that I got married young. I was 21. It was by the time I was working during high school and then getting married our relationship still was just as tight as the family unit that you had. But she always respected me that when we’re having children that was another thing. She would always be right there if you needed her. She was not always coming over to your house. She wanted to give you that growth so you can grow into becoming a wife, grow into becoming a mother. With my mom, you didn’t see that because my dad and her were separated, you didn’t see that, I guess the word is that unit. That you did not see growing up. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: She wanted to give you that growth, so you can grow to become a wife and a mother.

 

That’s interesting because even though the unit did not work for her, she respected the unit and knew the importance of it. That is very valuable. Sometimes people think because someone’s not doing a thing, they don’t have a value for the thing. Your mother showed you that, okay, that didn’t work with your dad, but she saw the importance and empowered you. That must’ve been like you wanted to talk to her and but, “Okay, I got to do it myself.” Now did your mother live near you? 

Yes, we were only 15 minutes away. 

What area were you living in then? 

At that time, Montclair, New Jersey, and my mom was in East Orange, New Jersey. 

Born and raised in New Jersey? 

Yes, born and raised in Morristown. 

Now you’re having children and still living in New Jersey, and your mom is 15 minutes away. Do you remember any motherly advice or guidance that your mom provided, or just her presence? How did that work for you?

She was just always, I think for my mom, she was always hoping that she would say, “Don’t have a person like your dad.” My dad was a gambler. That was one of his vices. He gambled too much. She just wanted to make sure that we never got with a man that was a gambler. Because it took away from your household. 

Were you able to accomplish that? 

Yes, indeed.

That is important because sometimes we subconsciously repeat patterns that do not serve people in our family well. It is an effort to truly say, don’t do that and intentionally choose something different because it identified that that did not. 

It’s so funny, cause my dad was a worker. He had no problem keeping the job and working. He worked at Jersey Central Power and Light Company until he retired but he just had that vice of being a gambler. 

I’m glad you used the word vice because sometimes things will just grip us. They will hold onto us and the fight to disassociate ourselves with it can often be harder than we think it will be. Did that make you afraid? I can relate to that, my dad had no problem keeping a job, but he and the lottery tickets, I don’t know of him going out gambling, but we would at the end of the year, tally up the amount that was spent on lottery tickets and then sit there amongst my sisters. 

I’m like, “This could have been my dress.” “This could have been my outfit.” “This could have been this.” It is that allure of I could get more instead of thinking of pieces we could put away that would add up to the more we were searching for. I’m out there like, I dreamed I won in the lotto, but I don’t play it. I don’t know what I’m dreaming about because it just turned me off from seeing that. 

Every now and then, I’ll think about it, but I just have that memory. I am not here for it. I can understand intentionally wanting to pick something different after seeing that. 

On a different note, my mom and dad, even though they separated all those years, never got divorced because back then they could not afford a divorce. It was not feasible. When my mom passed, she passed before my dad. He was a widow. 

They were separated and living that for how long?

35 plus years. 

Were you conscious that they were still married or did you even think of that or just realized it later as an adult? 

Oh no, we still knew. We always knew. My mom let us know. Even though they were not married, they were comical to me because they were friends and I never understood, how you still do taxes together and you’re not. You know what? Technically now that I think about it, they were married. They’re still married. They just were not living in the same household. 

I have seen some instances where that level of closeness just doesn’t work for everybody. Some people live in the same house and they have different bedrooms. I guess you have to find out what your jam is in that situation to make it work for you. 

Indeed, because they both had significant others throughout their lives. Whenever there were family events everyone would say, “Hi, how are you?” It was the friendliest thing, very friendly. 

Your parents, the original swingers out there. If the grandkids don’t know, they going to know now. 

Indeed, they’ll be just fine but it’s funny, they were just, I look back on that, I’m like, that was comical that they can be friendly to, I guess it was a level of respect to that significant other. I know this is who you’re with Vicki and you’re with Dexter and that’s okay. 

I guess if you have that understanding and that agreement, I have some friends and widows that are polyamorous where they have open relationships. If they’re able to think that communication eliminates drama, but it’s when people are untruthful, and dishonest in relationships that I think it tends to cause more of a problem because you’ve misrepresented yourself, where you have told me it will be this way and then you find out it’s not, then you feel the relationship is built on a lie. What else do we have if you couldn’t be honest about that piece? I can see that being a problem. At least just be upfront with what it’s going to be. 

That’s what they were because they always told someone I was no longer with my wife or my husband, but we were still legally married. I will never marry again. I always thought that was the crutch between the two of them. They don’t have to take that final step, but they also no longer ever have to marry anyone else again. 

A lot of people feel marriage is just a sheet of paper. What does marriage mean to you? 

It is a total commitment, loyalty, and honesty to me, that is just enrichment. As I’ve been married for 38 years. It makes me realize it’s not about just a piece of paper. It’s not. It’s you value what you put into it. You put your whole life, half of your life into this marriage and this man. 

Marriage is the total commitment, loyalty, and honesty. Share on X

Or that man into that woman. I think being married and having children are two of the most selfless acts that we can endure because if someone’s going into a marriage with the idea of what this other person is going to do for them, I think they’re going to be sadly mistaken. The work and it is rewarding and it is fulfilling, but the work that you have to do to make a marriage successful. If both parties are equally working at heart and it sounds like when your husband is, then you’re able to have something beautiful. 

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

 

Yes, indeed. We are fortunate. 

I can attest to that. How did you get from New Jersey to where you currently live? 

That’s interesting because we were looking to buy a house and we knew in New Jersey it was going to be too hot. We kept seeing signs about the Poconos and hearing things on the radio about finding a home in the Poconos. We’re like, let’s look up there. We both had good jobs and we ended up moving to Tobyhannah, Pennsylvania. In 1999.

I want to say, that was a big push for a lot of people that left New York and relocated to Tobyhannah. There was the allure, if I recall correctly, of the Martz bus system that you could relocate to Pennsylvania and take a bus back to New York and be able to work. Now you have the New York money, but you have the Pennsylvania lifestyle, which is different. What did you think of the woods, the Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania compared to New York was that, what did you think of that?

You’re talking about an adjustment coming for us coming from Jersey, we were Jersey people. I always think of our transplants our oldest child was in sixth grade and then we had fourth grade, then we had kindergarten. It was a whole new world to them. They were used to that city life and coming here to Tobyhanna when everything got dark, it was dark. 

We were like, “No street lights. What’s going on?” We were in a development and we said, “Do you hear the crickets?” Everything. That was another thing. There we’re deer and they come out of the woodwork. I was like, “Oh my goodness.” 

I am from Chicago born and raised. I remember being in an area similar to Tobyhanna. Where are the street lights? How does this work? How do you drive? When I started driving, I got a car and Mark said, “Will you turn on your high beams?” I replied, “What are those?” I had never been in an area where I needed high beams. If I was on a highway, wherever I was, there were lights. Let us not forget the windy roads that are in, so be careful. Then you add a little bit of snow and ice to all of that. 

That’s an old relic and you’re like, “Here we go again.” Where it can still snow in April. 

Exactly. When your family came to visit, what did they think of that area compared to where you were in New Jersey? 

They said, “I don’t know how you do it.” First of all, it’s too long of a drive. That, they did not like, then they said, “You’re out here.” They felt you were out in the wilderness. Whereas we would call it the boondock. I was just like, “You get up here and said, you can get away from the city.” “It’s similar to almost if you were in the country, just taking the country air relaxed, we didn’t get too many visits, but let me tell you for that first year, us living in Tobyhanna, we were going down to Jersey every weekend. 

Living in New Jersey, did your mom remain in New Jersey when you moved to Pennsylvania? 

She did for a little while after. Maybe about five or so years later, she ended up moving down to Martinsburg, West Virginia, with my sister who’s a year under me. She wanted to move down there. My mom had a lot of illnesses later on in her early 50s. She had started to gain illnesses, but she wanted to move down with my sister and her boys because my youngest nephew had cerebral palsy.

She wanted to go down there and help her with her family. She stayed down there for a good three years, but she hated it because my mom was a city girl. Okay. Very much fitted. My mom, born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey, moved to East Orange and said, “I cannot stand this country.” “Down here, it’s too much of country living.” She ended up moving back to East Orange. Even though we were still in Pennsylvania.

Was there a family conversation as far as your mom moving with your sister or that was just a decision between them and you just got the phone call and it was happening? It was just a decision between them. She just said, “This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to go down there and help them out.” I said, “Okay, mom, all right.” We would take turns to go down there or they come up this way for Thanksgiving. We still kept that connection going, even though they were down there in Virginia. 

Mom’s Illnesses

Now your mom has moved back to East Orange, but if we can circle back, you mentioned different illnesses that your mom was dealing with. Do you recall what they were? Can you explain about those a little bit? 

Yes, my mom had IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome was one problem, CPOD was her major one, and she also had a protein S deficiency that had to do with blood clotting. She had a blood clotting disorder. That’s another one. 

How did that start impacting her mobility? 

Very limited. My mom ended up within the last two years of her life having to be on oxygen, 24/7. She also suffered from sleep apnea. She had to wear the mask at night. 

That must be with the oxygen but I guess with the sleep on the CPOD, then it’s blowing air in. You’re kind of getting that. Did you say your mom was a smoker or how did she get CPOD? 

Yes, she was a smoker. Growing up, she was a smoker and then once she found out she had COPD, she had stopped. Of course, by then, you’ve already done the damage to your lungs, to your body, and everything. She was always active. My mom was always walking. Walking was the best thing that she could do. 

When she got to the point where she was too sick, that took away from her and it just started her. She would get into a depression at times, but she would always say, “Eat, drink, and be merry no matter what.” Come on holiday. It was just like, all right, we know what we were having. You wanted to have it. If you were sick, we had Blackberry Brandy to put in your tea. That was one of the things. 

Eat, drink, and be merry no matter what. Share on X

Nice. From what I recall, you spent a great deal of time traveling back and forth caring for your mom, and being there working. I remember that difficulty for you and that level of commitment to your mom and so now looking back on that what do you remember about that period of your life? 

That was the period when I was first doing a volunteer deployment as a civilian and I did three tours overseas and my mom would tell me she was already back here in East Orange. She said, “You keep going back and forth overseas.” “Is this something that’s enabling you with your life to take care of your finances?” “Yes, it is mom.” “Have you reached your goal, what do you need to do for your family?” “Yes, I have.” She would say, “Now it’s time for you to stop going overseas.” I replied, “Huh, I didn’t think about that because it was my first opportunity.” 

I knew I had Kevin, my husband here and he would take care of the family with no problem. It was the transition, but it was much needed. It helped me grow too as a person. I didn’t have to just be a mom and a wife. I can go out there and help serve others. It was an enriching experience for me. My mom told me that on my last tour, she said, “Stay home and just take care of the family now.” I did that in May of 2012, I came back, that was my last tour and I had done 10 months. That’s when she started to get a lot sicker. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: I didn’t have to just be a mom and a wife. I can go out there and help serve others.

Then I would go over to her place every weekend and help her as far as cooking, doing her laundry, and just spending quality time with her and not even realize it because she would be back and forth to the hospital. She would make a joke. I just came there for a tune-up. We’ll say, “Okay, mom. We just know you’re coming home.” Then she just started getting sicker and sicker. The last time she went, it wasn’t a tune-up. 

When you say every weekend, just for concept, driving one way. About how long did that take? 

Two hours. 

We’re talking four hours driving and you’re not going on vacation. You’re going there to work and the level of care that you were given for your mom, were you having to bathe her and care for her to that level or what did you have to do? 

No, that was just the cooking and helping her clean. As far as my mom was very independent, she was still able to bathe herself. Whatever she could do, she was just doing it. That’s one thing she did not want us to do for her. If that could be helped and she got her wish. We did not have to bathe her. 

Losing Mom

I want to give space for you to share this. It works best for you. What do you remember about your mom transitioning from this world and what led up to that? 

It was the week during, the week of Thanksgiving. It has always been one of my mom’s favorite holidays. She did not care for Christmas because Christmas was all about everyone spending so much money and giving gifts that were not needed or were just put to the side and didn’t care for that. She said the symbolism of Christmas had changed for her. Thanksgiving became her holiday. 

It’s funny because Kevin and I, our anniversary is November 22nd. Sometimes it can fall on Thanksgiving or not, it all depends on that time of year. She would always call us on a Thanksgiving anniversary. We didn’t hear from her, but then she got with us. She didn’t call on that day, but the day before that, she kept saying something was wrong and she was in the hospital and they just kept running tests. They knew the problem. 

She said her belly kept hurting so bad and we would just call the doctor. A few hours later in the middle of the night, the doctor calls and says, “Your mom has taken a turn for the worst. We want all the family members to come down.” Mind you at this time here my brother and his husband was in New York and had to come. We got there and she had a DNR. She knew she did not want any type of um resuscitation at all

I was literally in denial when I came into that room and we saw our mother. It was just like, “No, she said she’s just coming for a tune-up, there’s nothing wrong with Mommy.” Nothing like that but to be there and the whole family come there, it was just amazing. Then one of her sisters, she is a reverend and she was there. We just prayed over my mom as we saw she was passing, that transition because there was nothing any longer than she could say to us at that point. 

Already they had on the machine and she just said, “No, DNR.” “What’s next?” I’m asking the nurses. They’re telling me, but here, my children are saying, “Mom, they’re telling you Grammy,” that’s her name, Grammy. That’s what the children called her, “She’s not going to wake up and come out of this.” We were there when she passed and it was the hardest thing that we could ever have done but I was so glad that we were all there. 

It’s the hardest time of your life but it’s also heartwarming that you were there during that transition. You were able to say goodbye and just love on them and kiss on them and everything. We were glad that we were there and I was able to be there and do that. She just ended up dying from a pulmonary embolism in the belly, because then it just will travel. That’s what happened. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: It’s the hardest time of your life, but it’s also heartwarming to be there during that transition. You were able to say goodbye and just love on them.

Grieving Mom

How did you navigate? What did that look like for you mentally after your mom passed? You talked about the denial of being in the room of your children and having to adjust to the reality. What do you recall about those first days, weeks, and months after your mom died? How did life look for you? 

I couldn’t, I just couldn’t even recall anything because I just remember after that, sitting down in the hospital and couldn’t move for a long time, sitting down and recognizing, of course, that you go through the services, the viewing and everything that. We knew our mom always said she wanted to be cremated, always. 

To this day, I have a teardrop that I wear and my mom’s cremains. She’s with me every day. That was something that I wanted and one of my sisters wanted, but the two other siblings didn’t want that. I said, “That’s your choice. That’s okay. Not everyone wants part of the cremains.” Not at all but as a mom and how close my kids were with my mother and just trying to help them navigate, I think I concentrated more on them than myself. 

Thank you for sharing that and sometimes it’s an easy story to tell. Sometimes it’s a hard story to tell. You mentioned about giving your siblings space to grieve the way they needed to grieve. Was that something you were taught growing up or how did you come to the concept, oftentimes when people are grieving the same person, when someone else’s grief looks different than theirs, they try to push them into doing what they’re doing. How did that not become a thing for you? 

I had to just think about it because I said, “We’re all different.” Yes, this is our mom, all the same mom but they grieved our mother differently. I think for that instance, we no longer lived under the same roof. They lived in different states, but that’s what made it different. To this day, those made us closer to keeping that unity going, even though Mommy is not here. 

That respect of giving someone space to manage their loss the way it works for them. That is beautiful. 

Yes, indeed. For the longest time, for Mother’s Day, it used to be the hardest thing to go into the store to get a look at that card. Then you’ve seen everyone look to celebrate their mom. For the first two years, that was a crushing blow but you get past that, you do. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: For the longest time, Mother’s Day used to be the hardest thing.

Was it just the elapsing of time you got through it or how were you managing your grief?

It was just the lapse in time, the lapse in time. I just remember being thankful that we did have my mom for as long as we did. My mom was only 63 years old when she passed. 

You allow gratitude to be stronger than sadness.

Absolutely, because I get all my strength and wisdom from my mama. All of it. 

How do you see yourself being a mother now in what your mom instilled in you? Where do you reflect your mother? 

All her goals as being doing the right thing to be there for your kids, but not being all up in their business, so to speak. You want them to know that they can come to you for anything, but you don’t have to know all their business. All my children are different. You have one that will just tell you everything. Then you have the others that tell you half. Then you got one that just doesn’t say anything, “If there’s anything I need to tell you that’s worthy, I will tell you.” Otherwise, everything is status quo. That’s my oldest child. She reminds me of myself. 

That’s how you were growing up. You talked about how difficult it was in those early years after your mom’s passing. If someone is reading this and it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and they are struggling, and their mom just passed within the last 11 months, what would you share with them?

I would say go back and look at your last year with your mom when you’ve had those moments and think about those to help you get through this upcoming Mother’s Day and just lean on that. Know who your mom was and recognize, “Yes, we know it’s life and there is death, but know that you did the right thing and that you were with your mom. It may not have been during her death, but you’ve always been there in support of your mom and with your mom. 

 

 

Those memories add to life and to continue thinking of the beauty of their life. It is interesting because the moment of death can be so large that it seems to swallow all of the memories in the beginning. Like you cannot even find them. Did you struggle with that at all? 

No. I did not, I felt I had a multitude of memories, and music was one of them because, with my mom, Saturdays were cleaning days. I mean that thorough cleaning. Where you are dusting, you are polishing, you are doing everything. I love the music we grew up on back in the 60s and the 70s. Teddy Pendergrass is one of her favorites. We listen to the OJs, the Whispers, all that good music. Even to this day, my kids, when they clean, they listen to music. It’s a soothing thing and it’s just enough to keep you moving. You’re so excited for the day. You know you have to clean, but it’s still exciting. 

Do they know that playing the music and cleaning comes from Grammy? 

Yes, they do. I know I’m doing the right thing because my kids, especially my younger daughters, I am a grandmother and she has four children. She always tells me, “Mom, I’ve learned from the best how to be a mother.” I said, “I learned from my mom. So yes, you did learn from the best.” That’s just something that’s been instilled in me that has traveled down to my child and I said, “I love watching her become a mom.” It’s bittersweet because it’s you no longer have any babies. Everyone’s grown. 

I know when the pictures come you’re sending them to me, “We had another one.” They’re so cute and being in there. Being a mother, what advice would you give to someone who is newly a mother and on this uncharted path? 

Be kind to yourself as a mom and give yourself grace because you are not perfect and you will not be a perfect mother. I always say, “You can be the imperfectly perfect person.” 

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

 

An imperfectly perfect person. I like that. When you thought about having this conversation, were there some things in particular that you wanted to discuss we may have not broached? 

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to discuss or even talk about, but you covered a lot of everything I thought. I think you did very well in bringing up topics and things that can enrich the conversation. I thought you dug a little deeper. You went back to starting from the beginning, then how are you myself being married and having children, plus being a grandmother? No, there’s nothing else, nothing. 

I will allow you to close out this conversation and say what you would to the people who are reading, knowing that it’s Mother’s Day weekend. Some people may be mothers themselves. Some people may be missing their mothers who are no longer here, or maybe in the duality of that, you are in both of those places. How would you like to close out this conversation? 

What I would love to say to all the mothers out there or mothers-to-be, is just hang on to your multitude of memories that your mom is deceased because that’s what keeps me going. I love Mother’s Day now. At one point I didn’t love it, but now I’m back to loving it and just remembering my mom. If you’re lucky to have your mom with you, be with her. If it’s not on Mother’s Day, you’d be with her. One of those weekends, be it that weekend. Everything’s busy on Mother’s Day so be with her, whatever you do. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Kimberly Anderson | Mom’s Legacy

Mom’s Legacy: Hang on to the multitude of memories you have with your mom.

Kim, thank you so much for making space for this conversation in honoring your mom and your motherhood and your daughter and all the people who are reading this. Thank you so much. 

Thank you for having me.

Important Links:

Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide