This column is a historical as well as my sentimental tribute to all mothers present and for mothers that have passed. Personally, as life seems to be racing in too many directions, I sometimes forget to take time to express my gratitude and love for my Mom. Motherís Day also gives us the opportunity to honor the memory of mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers and great-grandmothers that have passed.

A motherís lifelong love is the ďagapeĒ form of love, or unconditional love. Agape love is defined as love that is selfless, where a person gives love to another person even when there is no benefit for him or herself - whether love is returned or not returned.

As adult children become parents, a new appreciation for a motherís love and profound dedication surfaces ó not just when experiencing the special times of this era, but within the day in and day out tasks that are necessary, challenging and sometimes mundane. In essence, we learn that it takes ďextraordinaryĒ love.

As far as the historical perspective, I was curious as to how this tradition got started. Although there was a celebration dating back to ancient Greece, the more contemporary Motherís Day began in England in the 16th century with what was called Mothering Sunday. It was celebrated annually in March on the fourth Sunday of Lent in the form of a church prayer service in which the Virgin Mary was honored. Eventually, the custom of giving gifts and flowers to mothers evolved. For some reason, the tradition became non-existent by the 19th century. During World War II, American servicemen stationed in England reintroduced it. Celebrating Mothering Sunday died out almost completely by the 19th century.

Motherís Day in the U.S began with a passionate plea by Julia Ward Howe, a writer and poet. She became well know when she wrote the famous Civil War song, ďBattle Hymn of the RepublicĒ. Ms. Howe decided there should be a day to honor mothers and celebrate peace. With her writings and her Motherís Day Proclamation in 1870, her appeal finally gave birth to an official celebration on June 2nd. It was later replaced to the current date in May.

Anna Jarvis is also recognized as the Founder of Motherís Day. She was an activist and social worker and was earnest in her own quest to honor mothers, both living and passed, with a designated day. She lobbied tirelessly for a national official Motherís Day holiday. Her efforts were rewarded when on May 8th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a resolution declaring Motherís day on the second Sunday in May.

In remembrance of generations of mothers that have passed, I chose the following poem. It is anonymous.

Mothers Who Are

No Longer Among Us

In tears we saw you sinking, And watched you pass away. Our hearts were almost broken, We wanted you to stay. But when we saw you sleeping,

So peaceful, free from pain, How could we wish you back with us, To suffer that again. It broke our hearts to lose you, But you did not go alone, For part of us went with you, The day God took you home.

If Roses grow in Heaven, Lord please pick a bunch for me, Place them in my Motherís arms and tell her theyíre from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile. Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day, but thereís an ache within my heart that will never go away.

Donít think of her as gone away Her journeyís just begun Life holds so many facets This earth is only one Just think of her as resting From the sorrows and the tears In a place of warmth and comfortWhere there are no days and yearsThink how she must be wishingThat we could know, today Now nothing but our sadnessCan really pass awayAnd think of her as livingIn the hearts of those she touchedFor nothing loved is ever lostAnd she is loved so very much.

Finally, to all my readers who are mothers, Iíll take this opportunity to wish you and my own dear mother, Alicia Trevino Garza, a Happy and Blessed Motherís Day! I love you Mom!

Mary Garza Cummings is a free-lance writer. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure validity of the information. For comments, email askseniorfocus@aol.com