According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word Mother has a relatively short meaning: a female parent. Three short words to describe such a monumental figure in one’s life. When I was a child, if I so much as thought of the possibility that my parents were gone, I would burst into hysterical tears and weep. The concept of not having my parents around, was something I couldn’t bear to even imagine, and even in through my 20’s and early 30’s, I still could barely even think of the idea.
Unfortunately, this idea and nightmare that haunted me from my childhood, became real. During the very early hours of Wednesday, January 5th, my mother passed away.
For the past 16 months, my mother fought the most courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She was a very private person, so only a limited amount of people knew of her diagnosis, most of us not even knowing the full extent of the illness until it was too late. My father, her partner for nearly 37 years also did not know much of what truly was going on- she hid it from him as much as everyone else in her life.
My mother was a self-less person. She was a social worker who’s life mission was to help people, and she did that every day of her life, even if it meant she had to neglect herself for those she was helping. I like to believe that she hid so many things from my father, siblings and me, to save us the suffering that she was internally dealing with.
My mom was my go-to when it came to Greyson and decisions I had to make. I felt like she always had the right answer and always gave the best advice, even if it was tough to hear. She adored her children. My favorite memories of my childhood, were when my mom was a stay-at-home mother, which was mainly during my toddler years. My mom would take us to the park, to the library, to the museum- so many places throughout Lancaster, we were never cooped up in the house. We were living in the west end of the city at the time, so we could walk easily to Buchanan park and the North Museum. I loved being able to spend time with my mom, especially at the library, when I would force her to read me a stack of books that I would bring over to her from the children’s section. Once Amanda went to Kindergarten, I got my mom all to myself.
Days as the “only child” were great! And although Amanda was only in a half-day Kindergarten program, my mom and I ran errands while Amanda was away, I would have lunch and then we would “nap” in her bed for some quiet time while watching shows like “Days of our Lives” and “As the World Turns”. I hated the shows, but I loved curling up in my parent’s bed, just me and my mom. Most of my childhood memories always involved Amanda, Mom and I. My dad sacrificed his time with us as little ones, so my mom could stay home.
Watching my mom bring two other children into the world, I saw what kind of mother I wanted to be when I grew up. Managing 5 girls in one house, grocery shopping, organizing events, sewing our Halloween costumes, helping us with our homework and working (she went back to work once Rebecca was born), was not an easy task, yet she did it so well. She also was a Girl Scout Troop leader for several years and was a “mom” to all the girls in her troops, too. Though I was in school during the week, she always used the weekends to get things done and still managed to take us to the library and other places…..it just took a bit longer with 5 kids.
By the time Middle School came around for me, my mom was at all of my field hockey games, choir concerts, musicals and band performances. She also went to Amanda’s concerts, musicals and supported us through all of our extracurriculars. Once I started High School, I was her first child to do Marching Band, and I’m fairly positive in the four years that I did band, my mom maybe missed one or two performances. She was at every single concert, recital, science fair, awards ceremony and musical. Every single one. Between Amanda and I in High School and Rebecca and Sarah in groups during Middle School, my mom was one busy woman, never taking a weekend “off” or any time to herself. Yet through it all, she never complained about supporting us, being a chauffeur or all of the events she had to go to.
Being able to have 32 wonderful years with my mom, has truly been a blessing. Just like trying to look on the bright side of our situation with Greyson, I am trying very hard to see the bright side of life right now. As much as its unfair that I didn’t have more time with her, the time that I did have with her was wonderful. I was able to see her become a grandmother to mine and my sister’s children, and the love that she shared with my dad, was one that only few find in life.
A mother’s love is a self-less love. From the moment she became a mother, my mom worked every single day to be the best she could be. We always came before anything else. We were always supported. We were always cared for. We were always loved. We were so incredibly lucky to have her.