My mother, Doris Janelle Hackler Hood Shafer, passed away on January 30, 2013. As I remember her life, something occurred to me that I hadn’t ever really thought much about, or at all.
Before she married my father, Raymond “Jim” Shafer, in 1965, she was the widow of Aaron Eugene “Gene” Hood, who died in 1961. My daughter found my mom’s wedding photos from her first marriage as we were sorting through old photos. It got me to wondering what Gene was like and how long they had been married before he was killed in a Potash mining accident in Carlsbad, New Mexico. She’d told me bits and pieces about him throughout the years. He was a likable fellow, and besides herself, her parents and brothers were devastated by his death in ’61′. They had been married seven years and had no surviving children.
She married my father four years later and became step-mother to his adopted son, George, whom he had adopted with his first wife whom he had divorced. Three years after my parents married, in 1968, I was born. And as I thought about this, it occurred to me that if Gene had not died in that mining accident, I wouldn’t have ever been born and my three children would never have been born either. What a precarious thing life is!
As I said, she and Gene never had a surviving child together. I’m not sure how many miscarriages she had; one was so bad that she almost bled to death. One of her dearest desires was to give birth to a child and through providential circumstances she did give birth to me when she was in her mid-thirties. She loved me and cherished me, sometimes her overprotective nature seemed to smother me, but I always knew my value in her eyes. And now, I realize that she lost a most precious husband, Gene Hood, and seven years later was given me. It is both humbling and honoring to me at the same time.