August 1, 1947 – May 1, 2009
Mom was an interesting woman. I met her almost 39 years ago. She had to postpone her nursing exams because I wanted to see this bright, beautiful world. Mom and I didn’t always get along. In fact I think we probably weren’t the best of friends. She doted on me as a child and then when I was a teenager I began acting like lots of other teens out there. Mom couldn’t be right about anything back then. But as all parents hope, I did survive my teen years and I did come to appreciate her. I especially appreciate her for not killing me when I totally deserved it. The woman had more heart and more patience than I’ve ever known a woman to have. Now as I have children, I’m starting to sound like her. I’m even starting to agree with her. She might have even been right back then.
I remember her making a life-size doll for me. I then took the doll and made it sit and talk. She was gracious enough then to pretend along that the doll was me. And, of course, I believed every second. I was right behind the doll giggling because I didn’t think she knew. I was five. What a great time!
I remember her willing to be my confidant. I wasn’t willing but she was. Mom was a strong person. For several years she worked as a hospice nurse. Every family that she helped wanted her to stick around. Mom made dying easier. She was always willing to give a hug or offer a shoulder to cry on. She’d cry with them. She loved her patients and she showed it. When it came time for hospice to come and care for her I don’t think it was quite the same. Hospice is a an emotionally difficult job and requires a special kind of person.
When Mom’s cancer was diagnosed we all grieved. The doctors told us it wasn’t good and that she might have two years, probably less. Mom had different plans though. She went through chemotherapy. She was sicker from the medicine than she ever was before. She lost her hair. She lost her mind. But she never gave up. She went into remission. She regrew her hair, her mind began to clear, and we began to have hope. But, not a year later she was back in for chemo, back to losing her hair and puking her guts out. She never gave up. I don’t really know how many times she went through this, but I know she lived 6 years before she finally died. Even in dying, especially during dying, Mom showed us her love as if we were the ones who needed it. I think the only reason she lived as long as she did was to make sure that we knew that she loved us. She had a new granddaughter, and she wanted her to remember her grandmother. And she does. She wanted to make sure all of her grandkids would be ok when she was gone. Her waiting so long and always trying harder gave the kids a chance to grow up a little. It made losing her easier. We were sad, even heartbroken, but we were also so very, very glad that she was no longer suffering.
My mom wasn’t perfect. In fact she was far from it. Love covers a multiple of sins. As long as I remember to love, everything will end up ok. Mom loved me and she would have given her life for me if she needed to. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Thanks Mom! Happy Birthday!