Gratitude – Day 51 (Mom)

This is a hallmark entry in my journey of gratitude. Mom. Mom and I have always been very close. Through the years, she has been both a mother and a father to me. What is more, she is a great friend. I guess I always suspected there was a deep well of fortitude, integrity, and love. It was not until 1983 that she had an opportunity to truly blossom and shine. When mom got out from dad’s shadow, she truly came into the light.

She rose to the challenge of finding a new place to live, a job, and a new life. We started that path together. I look back and marvel at her determination and positive attitude. You would think that the years of mental, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse would have broken her spirit. Nope. The strongest steel must pass through the hottest forge. Once she started work, she set out to achieve a number of other goals. She studied and worked to get her Inter-Provincial Chef’s papers, her Grade XII Diploma, a Driver’s license… the list goes on. Despite year’s of being told she couldn’t do things, she knew she could; and did. She is quite an amazing lady.

In addition to her determination and goal focused approach, she demonstrated a very positive attitude. One of the most admirable traits is her deep well of forgiveness. Through the pain and wrongs she has suffered at the hands of others, she bears no malice. Her capacity to love and forgive is beyond my ability to comprehend and is a source of inspiration for me to be a better person. Perhaps I am a bit biased in my views, but she really is a truly amazing person.

She is 79 years old right now and will have her 80th this September. The last few years has been a bit rough on her health wise. Broken ankle, shingles, various flu, cold, or infections. Her latest challenge is cancer in the bladder. The signs that something serious may be plaguing her was late 2010. She got some tests and suspicions were high that there may be cancer involved. I flew to Nova Scotia for most of January and some of February to be around and offer help and support as needed as we tried to get a clear diagnosis. They operated and scraped a large tumor from her bladder in late January. It has been an emotional time and one of great concern. This spring, they decided to embark on a treatment plan involving radiation in lieu of removing the bladder. She has two treatments left. My sister Bonnie is running Mom to all of her appointments and has been an incredible support. I am so glad Bonnie is around. I will probably plan another trip East this year to spend some time with Mom.  The treatments are tiring her out and making her rather sore. For added challenge, she has been passing kidney stones this past couple of weeks.

Through all of this, Mom has her head held high and is greeting life’s challenges with dignity & determination. Quite admirable. She still manages to do some volunteer work occasionally, but has thankfully slowed down. We speak on the phone many times each week and I hope she draws strength and courage from those of us who care deeply for her. She is so used used to giving support that she is not really sure on how to accept it for herself.

My love for mom is beyond description; she could easily be the subject for many more of my blog entries. This has been a difficult period for her and through it all she is positive, loving, and forward focused. She has not, does not, and will not engage in self pity. She is eternally grateful for what she has. With that kind of attitude, how could I possibly not be grateful for what I have and for being a part of her life.

Mom; you rock. Let’s get this current health challenge behind you and move on to many more memories, laughs, and good times. To you, I hoist a pint of Keith’s. Love you lots,

No painter’s brush, nor poet’s pen
In justice to her fame
Has ever reached half high enough
To write a mother’s name.
~ Author Unknown

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