A CHS teacher carries the memory of her mother.
January 11, 2023
Laurel Landrum held up a pair of little girls’ dresses covered in sparkly beads and lace flowers. Next, came a cowgirl costume in black and white cow print with red fringe. Then, a pair of cozy, woolen mittens. Landrum fished through the bag of items and smiled—her mother had made them.
In 2020 Landrum, a CHS teacher, lost her mother to ovarian cancer during the height of the pandemic and online teaching. For several years after the diagnosis, her mother had been in and out of treatments and that summer, the last treatment failed. As the world opens up, she looks to all the special things her mother did as a way of healing.
As COVID-19 restrictions were lifted after her mother’s passing, the family started to go out into the world and establish new family traditions.
“[We started] doing the things we would have done anyway, without her, ” Landrum said. “It was nice to have holidays and go on vacations together. That was helpful.”
Landrum’s mother was the center of many family activities. She hosted parties, bought gifts for the grandchildren and made things special. Now, Landrum and her sister are following in her footsteps as they take on this role. This past year they hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving. They also organized a family vacation and rented a house in Ludington, Michigan, where their parents grew up.
Her mother was not only a hostess but a skilled seamstress. Growing up in a very rural area meant that Landrum’s mother became a jill of all trades: she hand-made all of her own clothes and could mend almost anything. She would make holiday dresses and costumes for her daughters, “memory quilts” out of old t-shirts and stuffed animals. Now, a new generation will carry on this tradition. Landrum’s daughters are going to learn to sew and have slowly gone through the various fabrics and sewing tools their grandmother had set up in the basement.
“We signed the girls up for sewing lessons so they can learn to do it themselves,” Landrum said. “It took some time, but now we are able to do that stuff.”
Continuing these traditions is a way for Landrum’s family to carry on the memory of their mother, their grandmother and the amazing woman she was. Hosting a party or learning to sew are ways Landrum and her family heal. In healing, they are honoring their loved one, her legacy and light.
“All the things my mom used to do I took for granted before,” Landrum said. “I didn’t really think about how special it was that she did all those things until she couldn’t do them anymore. It feels special to be carrying on some of these traditions.”