Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lessons from Mom

Mother's Day is a double edged sword for me. It's a reminder that I am not and may never be a mother. It's also a reminder that my own mother is gone.

My mom was an amazing woman.

She was quirky, intelligent, quick witted, compassionate and above all else, she loved her daughter.

My mother was an extreme liberal and she would debate for hours over politics and religion. Probably one of the main reasons I'm so passive when it comes to these topics. She was proud to be considered a tree-hugger, granola or dirty hippy.

She loved music and loved to sing. From the Beatles, to Peter, Paul & Mary, to Harry Chapin and Iris Dement, just to name a few. From as far back as I can remember she sang to me, while gently rubbing or tickling my arms and back or playing with my hair to put me to sleep. I might mention that she did this every time I saw her until she died. My poor husband has since inherited the nightly ritual. (minus the singing part) She sang Return to Pooh Corner, Puff the Magic Dragon and Where Have All the Flowers Gone...those songs are now on my iPod and when I want to feel close to her, I listen to them.

My mom was also an artist. She loved drawing and painting. She owned a framing business and worked with all the local artists in the St. Louis area.

Her friends told me so many times after she died how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. I loved hearing this. What maybe she didn't know because I never told her was how proud I was of her. 

She faced her cancer with such bravery and grace that I am still above all else proud of her. I'm honored to say that she was and always will be, my mom. I was most definitely the lucky one to have her in my life.

I wish she hadn't been taken so quickly. There were so many things that I wanted to say to her and didn't. I will always have those regrets.

I will always long to have her to talk to, as we did every day on my way home from work. She would have been my biggest supporter through the past 2 years. She would have researched, pushed, cheered and cried the hardest.

My mother taught me so many things and I hope one day I'm giving the gift of passing on these lessons to my own child. Here are a few...

Be strong
Be kind
Be independent
Be HAPPY
Smile
Hold your head up high, not matter what
Know your own worth
Carry yourself well
Love yourself, only then you can truly know how to love someone else
Be your own advocate, if you don't, who will?
Educate yourself
Pick your battles wisely
Stand up for what you believe
Travel the world
Relax
Have patience 
Laugh lines are the best kind of wrinkles, they show how well you've lived
Grow old gracefully
Die with dignity 
"A lady always knows when to go"

I AM the woman I am today because of my mother. Had it not been for her, I would not have the strength or the character to have gotten through my infertility struggles. 

When she was happy, she used to quote one of her favorite movies, Little Big Man. "My Heart Soars Like a Hawk" 

I hope that one day I do find that kind of complete happiness. 

(Picture taken during Chemo treatment, 5 months before she died)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.



8 comments:

  1. Your mother sounds like a wonderfully amazing woman. I'm sure she has something to do with your strength in getting you through these difficult times. xoxo

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  2. Wishing your mama a happy Mother's Day! Sounds like being your mom was an easy job! I'm sure you miss her more than you can express. Thinking of you today!

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  3. How wonderful to have a piece of your Mom living on through you, you both sound like amazing women! xo

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  4. Oh, you sweet girl. Your mom sounds like someone I'd love to have gotten to know. What beautiful memories you have of her.

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  5. I am bawling my eyes out. I could have written so much of this post. And once again, I find out we have even more in common. My mom was also raised in the STL (Illinois side of the river) and she went back home during her last few months of life. That is where she passed away.

    Your post really touched me, and I know how it feels not to have the person who loved you most in the whole entire world there to call when you need to most. You are right though, her struggles are what has allowed you to make it through yours. I know you said you are proud of your mom, but I bet it doesn't come close to the amount of pride she has watching you from above right now. YOU my dear should be very proud! ((HUGS))

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  6. I'm with Emily...where are the tissues? It is clear why you are so amazing...you take after your mom. What a beautiful tribute to your lovely mother. I can see why you miss her so much. I wish she was still here with you! Hugs.

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  7. "She would have researched, pushed, cheered and cried the hardest."

    Tears streaming down my face.

    My heart BREAKS for you over the loss of your mom and the fact that she can't be here to walk this road with you. I know you walked her road though, right alongside her.

    And also, from the little bit of you that I know via this blog, it sure looks like you are living out all of those lessons she taught you.

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