Due to life being incredibly busy, I was unable to contribute my tribute to my mom before Mother’s Day this year. My mom is a hero. I know what you are thinking-almost all little girls think their moms are heroes but my mom is a hero. She has experienced more pain in her life than any human being should have to face. We all experience pain but it is in how we deal with it that counts.
Mom would say the bad started when she lost her dad. She was 28 years old and pregnant with me. Grandpa’s death was a shock. He had a massive heart attack and was dead on arrival to the hospital. How she did not miscarry me is amazing. She was three months pregnant with me when her dad died. About two months before I was due, she began trying to have me early. Eventually I was born a few weeks early weighing in at a healthy 7 pounds.
Mom said she faced a lot of depression in my early weeks. It must have been difficult for her to realize her daughter would never know her grandfathers this side of Heaven as my dad’s father died three weeks before her own. Maybe mom and I were already in tune and she knew I would want to know about the men who should have been in my life but were not. Eventually her depression subsided. She likely had baby blues made worse by the circumstances rather than depression.
At birth, my head was very large. As we know now it and the large dark birthmark were related to Cowden Syndrome. The doctor believed my weak muscles termed hypotonia were related to being born early and having the huge head. So the health problems in her youngest began almost immediately after my birth. In 1985-1986, she saw her youngest daughter be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her oldest child, my brother, diagnosed with a substance abuse problem, and her husband lost everything he financially owned and went bankrupt.
Still she kept on. My mom wanted to be a nurse from the time she was a little girl. When I was 9, she worked in a hospital kitchen watching those nurses. In 1990, two years before the cancer would come back on me, she had the chance to realize her dream and become a nurse. My mom was by my side through every single chemotherapy treatment. She was present for all 24 operations. She cried when I cried. When I got mad at her for crying because I wanted to try to be stronger, she left without any remarks except to tell her when to come back.
My dad had an aneurysm burst on his brain in August 1994. At that time, my mom had to become the only breadwinner. She struggled but ended the situation doing an amazing job. My dad survived the aneurysm but would be disabled for the remainder of his life.
I think among the top three most painful moments of my mom’s life and perhaps the most happened as a shock in 1998. My grandmother was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia. She was getting better. The nurse who took care of her that night was my mother. It was my mother who found her mom lying in a fetal position still. Her heart had stopped beating moments before she found her. This death was the most rough on my mom because she blamed herself for being too late in looking in on her. The truth is my grandmother smoked from age 8 to age 74 and had COPD and other problems. It was her turn to go and be reunited with my grandfather.
Only one time have I seen my mom have an emotional breakdown. At my grandma’s funeral, she hugged her body sobbing with the words “I’m so sorry mom.” The only time she was on any medication in her life for help coping with depression was during that time period. Seeing her hurt so badly hurt me as well. She blamed herself and it took years for her to realize it was not her fault.
In 2002, the family realized my brother’s problems were more than substance abuse related and he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. My mom had to place her child under involuntary hold for his health as well as the health of the rest of her family.
The point of this isn’t that my mom hasn’t had good points in her life. Her proudest moments were in 1968, 1971, 1977, 1991, 1999, 2003, and 2005 when her children and grandchildren were born. She achieved her goal of becoming a nurse but I feel she deserves so much more. She’s never been able to travel and when I was younger helping her was a part of why I wanted to do so well in school and get a good job. My health failed and my plans fell to pieces. I still wish for something wonderful to happen for her.
So if there is anyone out there who thinks they have a better mom than me, I am sorry but you are mistaken. I understand better how much my health problems must hurt her now that I have my own children. I see she went through a lot. Even at the age of 32, the thought of losing my mom brings me to tears. She isn’t doing well right now and is refusing to visit the doctor. I fear for her so much but know that despite whatever happens this woman was who put me in church when I was younger to find God, she pushed me to take chemotherapy even when I was ready to stop, she holds my hand with each surgery, she makes me feel that in spite of the health problems, the poverty, the bad-it is all worth it.
If I am half the mom she is then I know I have an A+ in the grading system of moms.
*Again I will be back to add a picture as soon as I can get the scanner hooked up to this thing and plan on seeing one about my dad soon for Father’s Day. He’s pretty wonderful too*
An extremely sad update. In late May, my mom had an ultrasound that showed multiple masses on her liver. A colonoscopy soon showed a larger mass in her colon. My mom has metastatic colon cancer. A quick check on the Internet shows just how bad survival odds are. She is extremely ill with some days better than others. I’m unable to reread this because I can remember crying when writing it at the thought of losing her. I continue it with every single day but I’ve joined her fight. She WILL make it long enough for my children who are 6 and 4 to have good memories of her. Next week on my birthday (Monday June 7) is a liver biopsy and on Wednesday is her PET scan so we can learn more. I have failed to write due to having more family committments for the time being. I want to spend as much time with her as I can. I’m not sure why I am updating this as I’m sure few people if any will read it. Even a few people reading and praying makes me feel better though. I don’t want to lose my hero and if I had babysitters I wouldn’t leave her side through this for any amount of time. She never did leave me. My mom remains the most awesome mom who ever walked this earth, If she wasn’t so awesome, what she’s going through wouldn’t hurt so badly.