Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | May 10, 2014

Missing Mom

Happy Mother’s Day 2014


One of many beautiful pictures of her pregnant with firstborn.

1977. One of many beautiful pictures of Nellie Katherine pregnant with firstborn.

We are missing the mother of our family – Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden – this Mother’s Day.  We all miss Mom. It’s been 5 months, but time isn’t the measure for grief. Love seems the better scale. Mother’s Day, like our Wedding Anniversary is all about who she was. CHRISTmas and Easter are about the Lord Jesus Christ and our memories – and the grandchildren being children. Birthdays and school events are about the kids, more than our sense of loss. But, wife and mother was who Katherine was. She was sister, daughter, granddaughter, kin, friend, colleague, neighbor, counselor, teacher, administrator, prayer warrior, etc. as part of her identity. Her unique being. But, for over 38 years she was wife and over 36 years – Mother. It’s who she wanted to be most of all. More than anything in life.

Our children called her Mommy, Mama, and Mom.  Our Irish triplet grandchildren heard their Mother call her “Mom!” (pronounced with exasperated inflection) so much, they awarded a grandmother appellation like Granny, Nana, Namoo, Oma, etc.   They called her “Mom.”   We spent so much time with them during the past 7 years of deployments and training, they felt like they had two mothers – and not in the progressive weird way.  Really.   Youngest grandbaby was making progress with “Gan-ma” when Katherine had a stroke and died.

Nellie and I got married to have a family.  That was the reason for marrying – after a stormy, steamy courtship.  We were blessed with easy fertility.


We built our first home here - Hinesville, GA.  Next to a swamp.  Watched the artillery at night.

We built our first home here – Hinesville, GA. Next to a swamp. Watch the artillery at night.

Molly Myriah was born August 11th, 1977 at Ft Benning, GA.  Almost lost our baby in delivery.  Katherine was severely injured – over 40 stitches internally.  Pain didn’t dim her thrill – and complete joy.

There’s so much more to say about this first baby – and each child. All the words a Mother and her family would care to hear.  The details of life lived. The precious memories cherished personally. Everything special only a Mother remembers.

Going home to our apartment - full of love

Going home to our apartment – full of love

Nellie said the first year as a mother was the most special in her life.


August 1978

August 1978

James Albert II (named after my father) was born August 18th, 1979 in Leesburg, VA.  We were on a long leave en route to Grad School.


Year One of Grad School: Living in 500 square feet on 2 floors

Living in 500 square feet on 2 floors

Albert started his allergies, ear infections and asthma at age 6 months – right about when my father, his namesake, died.  Life’s challenges came along with blessings upon blessings.  Motherly love abounded.  Nellie got sick and almost died in the Summer of 1980.

At her Mother's home in West Virginia

At her Mother’s home in West Virginia

Maggie Kyle was born December 1st, 1984 in Bethesda, MD.  Katherine was ill and a high risk pregnancy.  All the doctors told us to stop having children.  We complied.  I wish we had prayed on it – and been led to have more kids.   My Mother said, “This one will be the light of your life.”  She was an absolute joy from the moment of her birth. (Delivered by Naval Academy grad at Bethesda Naval Hospital while Army beat Navy.)


Joy for all

Joy for all


Nellie birthed her last baby. She was head over heals in love.

Maggie and Mom

Maggie and Mom

Katherine wasn’t perfect in every way. Her children can speak to their issues in growing up. She was the best Mother she could be for her babies. She loved ferociously and selflessly. She loved them totally.  Her identity was their Mother – more than anything else.  She was my wife, of course.  But, her role for our family was Mom.  She called herself, “Connector of all human life.”

Then, her daughters had children.  Being a grandmother was more than she ever imagined.  She thrilled in her new role.  She got goofy excited just talking about her “babies.”  When she was decorating the nursery she set up in our house, I told her our kids never had such color and fancy accessory coordination.  She didn’t care.  “This is for the babies.”  And, her. When Mom was with the grandbabies, they lit up with her bright love. Each one bathed in her warm lovingkindness. Each felt as special as they could be.

On her 65th birthday.  Two months before her stroke.

On her 65th birthday. Two months before her stroke.

She spoke to her daughter mothers almost every day.  (Our son isn’t married.) She listened and chatted as only a Mother – and Grandmother – can do.

The first thing she asked me when we saw each other at the end of our work days, was “Have you heard from the kids?”

Millions of Americans miss their Mom this Mother’s Day. May the Good Lord bless and keep them through their longing, hurting time. May the Good Lord pour out blessings on those who had horrible Mothers or Mothers who left them – and show them how to be good Mothers. May our Lord and Savior bless every Mother who tries to do her best – and loves her children. And raises her children in the Word of God. May we all honor mothers and motherhood. It’s the most important job there is.

My wife prayed and prayed for our children. The older she got, the more she prayed for them – and the grandbabies. She cried rivers of tears in fear, anguish, joy and hope for our babies.  She cared with every ounce of her being.  She mothered.

Now, her family is crying a lot this first Mother’s Day missing Mom. Our tears are the sharp pain of not being able to love and honor her in person. Our sadness is for the times she wanted to share with us in the future – and shan’t.  Especially, when more babies come to bless the Clan.

Laughing and loving Mom

Laughing and loving Mom

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ for our precious memories of ‘Mom’.



  1. […] I have to write anything on Mother’s Day? No. Unlike James Atticus Bowden (see Happy Mother’s Day 2014), my heart does not yearn for someone who has gone to our Lord. God has not called me to preach a […]

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