What My Mother Taught Me
My mother passed away in 2007 after an 18 month battle with pancreatic cancer. This is the memorial I wrote for her. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve held her hand.
What My Mother Taught Me
My mother was a loving woman who taught me many things. She taught me by example, by gentle guidance, sometimes with a firm hand, occasionally by lengthy lecture or discussion but always with love.
My mother showed me what empathy and compassion was when she stopped to help others in need; a mother, running in the rain on the side of the highway-small child in hand, a child on the street being abused by a grown man. My mother stopped to help them when others drove by and said it wasn’t their problem.
My mother showed me what being a friend meant. It means making the phone call and offering a supportive shoulder when times are bad. It means taking the time and putting in the extra effort for the birthday, a holiday or just because.
My mother showed me how to achieve a seemingly impossible goal when she trained for the breast cancer 60 mile, 3-day walk at the age of 52. She did this walk in celebration of being in remission for 10 years.
My mother showed me what determination and commitment was when went to work in the afternoon after getting radiation in the morning when she was diagnosed with breast cancer the second time.
My mother taught me to love books and reading and writing. My earliest memories are of being curled up next to mom, Amber on the other side, while mom read A Wrinkle in Time to us.
My mother taught me to love swimming. She used to swim laps in the lake and I remember wanting so badly to be able to keep up with her.
My mother instilled in me a desire to achieve when she went back to school with the goal of earning her Masters degree.
My mother went out of her way to help me, and my sisters, achieve our dreams. She did simple things like getting me piano lessons and she went way out of her way by driving to Bangor , Maine so that I could stand outside Stephen King’s house. My mother got up at 6am on Thanksgiving one year so she could wait for an hour at Cobo Hall-just so she could be there to cheer for me when I started and finished my first 10K. She of course took tons of pictures, which remind me not only of her love but also of what I can accomplish when I work hard enough.
My mother showed me what it means to be a mother by showing up. She was there for almost every single game, track meet, concert, dance and mildly important event or day. When I insist on taking Max and Hannah’s pictures on he first day of school, every year, they can blame my mom. When I refuse to miss their middle school band concerts, they can thank my mom.
My mother danced with me to tv shows and our favorite songs.
My mother sent me cards, days early, so that I’d get mail on the first day of camp. My mom always had a little present waiting for us on our birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and all the other little holidays. On Christmas she tried extra hard, year after year-no matter what she was going through, to make it a special day for all of us.
My mother showed me what love was by doing all the little things I miss, but can’t wait to do for my kids.
Mom let us be kids. We got dirty playing outside or doing crafts. We got muddy and wet riding our bikes through giant puddles. Once she let us, encouraged us, to chase a hot air balloon through the woods in our pajamas. When we were out driving and saw a hot air balloon she’d drive to try and track it to it’s landing. Most people have probably never seen a hot air balloon land-I’ve seen about a dozen.
My mom taught me to always stop at a little kids lemonade stand-and to tip.
Because of my mother I love lilacs, butterflies, the color purple and everything about Christmas.
Because of my mom I firmly believe my birthday is a national holiday. I’ll never see a lighthouse, a sunflower, or a hot air balloon without thinking of mom.
My mother showed me what courage was when she refused to give up, even after doctors told her she could and perhaps should. She fought, she got a tattoo with the intent of showing it off off when she was 80, she made plans, she continued to dream and hope.
My mom allowed me to support and comfort her and showed me how strong I could be in the process. Seeing her afraid and in pain taught me its ok for parents to be human. She showed me I don’t have to be supermom, I just need to be myself and I just need to be there for my kids and the people I love.
My mom taught me how to be a friend, a sister, a mother and woman.