Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Especially grateful this Mother’s Day May 12, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Me with my mom in her assisted living room in 2014. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo by Randy Helbling.


THERE WAS A THURSDAY about two months ago when fear gripped my heart. Our mother, my middle brother texted, was being rushed via ambulance to the hospital and might not survive.

I exited his message, scrolled to my favorites in my contacts and pressed the green phone icon that would link me to my husband. “You need to come home now,” I ordered as I fought to suppress my emotions. He needed to finish a job and then would be on his way.

As I threw clothing into a suitcase—uncertain whether we would be staying overnight—I worried that we might not reach the hospital in time. We had a two-hour drive to Redwood Falls.


I printed this message inside a handmade Mother’s Day card in elementary school.


We arrived to find Mom settling into a room after her transfer from the ER. That afternoon I said my goodbyes to a mother in such obvious physical discomfort and distress that she wanted to die. And I was OK with that. I couldn’t bear to watch her struggling to breathe.


The only photo I have of my mom holding me. My dad is holding my brother Doug.


Many hours later, I hugged Mom for what I thought would be the last time and left her room in tears. In the hallway, I attempted to compose myself before reconnecting with family in the downstairs waiting room. As we left, the next family members rotated in.

Once I’d expelled that initial grief, I didn’t cry. I managed, an hour later, to stand before an audience in a Mankato art gallery and read my prize-winning poem about detasseling corn. I find more and more in difficult situations that I am able to establish an emotional roadblock. Perhaps that’s inner strength. Or denial. Or self-preservation.

I fully expected that we would be heading back west in a few days with black mourning clothes packed. But once again, as she has multiple times in her nearly 85 years, my mom surprised us all by recovering from a major health crisis. Her condition improved overnight and days later she was released back home to a care center.

I am grateful this Mother’s Day to still have my mother on this earth. I am grateful, too, to be the mother of three and the grandmother of one.


My mom saved everything, including this Mother’s Day card I made for her in elementary school. I cut a flower from a seed catalog to create the front of this card.


If your mother is still living, express your love to her via a visit, a phone call and/or a card. If your mother has passed, I hope, rather than grieve, you will remember her with love.

And someone, please remind my son that Sunday is Mother’s Day.


TELL ME: How do you honor the women in your life who are mothers on Mother’s Day?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


33 Responses to “Especially grateful this Mother’s Day”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Mother’s Day can be so difficult for so many reasons. But I,too, am grateful to still have my mom and have called her a couple times already this week, sent cards and flowers and a really practical gift of a long shoehorn. 🙂 I also sent a couple of cards to other moms who are important in my life. Love how your mom kept your cards. So wonderful to have those memories from your childhood.

  2. Kiandra Says:

    I’m glad that your mother is okay! Sounds like she’s a fighter! Also congrats on your poem!
    This Mother’s Day weekend I will be celebrating with my mother in law today, my mom tomorrow and me on Sunday. I will also be putting out a post on Instagram for those who are hoping or struggling to be mothers. We had a very difficult time having our son Soren. Multiple miscarriages and some infertility before a successful pregnancy 7 years later. We are so blessed by our son who is 3, but I remember those Mother’s Days that passed while we struggled. One of those years, our pastor gave his sermon on Mother’s Day and acknowledged the women who were hoping and struggling to have a child. I was so touched! I felt like a mother already but without a child. Now that we have our beautiful son, I want to acknowledge those who are still on that journey to motherhood as well as those who will be celebrating with their children.

    • Kiandra, first, I am so sorry for the loss of your babies through miscarriage and for the years of struggling with infertility. I know this affects many women. That your pastor acknowledged that in a Mother’s Day sermon shows great compassion. I am thankful you are now enjoying motherhood with your precious Soren. I can tell in reading your words that you are a thankful, loving and caring mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

  3. CELEBRATE & just SPEND Quality Time Together – I have two great women in my life that are moms to me 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day to You & Happy Weekend – Enjoy & Relax 🙂

  4. Thank you Audrey for sharing about your Mom. Happy Mother’s Day! I laughed out loud about you son! Maybe we could invent an app that automatically alerts them and sends a card?

  5. melirey96 Says:

    Thank the good Lord she is doing well. This mother’s day weekend I will be spending it with my son and my mother shopping and visiting the farm to buy flowers for planting. Is what we love to do together.
    Have a wonderful mother’s day!

  6. Susan Ready Says:

    Being filled with gratitude turns what we have into enough-lucky you another day, another month with mom presence

  7. Littlesundog Says:

    I often find the comments as entertaining as the post. While tears welled up reading your post, I laughed when I read Jena’s comment about an app that alerts and sends a card! There are many varied emotions about Mother’s Day. I always call my Mom on Mother’s Day and send her gifts as they present themselves throughout the year. I wish my sisters and friend’s much happiness on that day. It should be a day of great celebration – where would any of us be without a Mother? Whether biological or the next-door neighbor or an older co-worker – wise women who are pivotal in our lives are often found where we least expect them. Happy Mother’s Day to you, my friend.

  8. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Wow, you are one strong woman. I don’t know if I could have pulled that off. I’m so glad to hear that your Mom is doing better.

    I sent a card already, and there will be a phone call and handmade gift in the near future

  9. valeriebollinger Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Audrey!

  10. Judy M. Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Audrey. I hope you have a pleasant day Sunday.

  11. Jackie Says:

    So glad you still have your mom, She just needed to be here for awhile longer 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day Audrey, I hope Caleb remember’s 🙂 My daughter will probably remind her brothers 🙂

  12. mekathy2 Says:

    Will be looking for my own son’s card today…may your mother enjoy her Mother’s Day tomorrow and all the memories that it may bring. You look very much like your mother int he picture you posted.

  13. Gunny Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Audrey!! (Sorry, I had prior social obligations)

  14. Happy Mother’s Day, Audrey.
    I’m HAPPY your mother is doing well. What a treasure.
    Thank you for you LOVE, which flows all over the place…
    even in Duluth!


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