My Mom

This blog post has been a long time coming…

I realize isn’t very old, but this topic has been on my mind for years. After my Mom passed away in 2004, I felt this urgent need to document her life. I gathered photos, I bought a scrapbook and I tried to get started. Then I realized, how do you document someone’s entire life? How do you capture an amazing spirit in a scrapbook? How can I even begin to explain her to future generations? So I decided to stop until I could find the words and the way. This was pre-Facebook where we can look back and see people’s lives captured in quotes, videos, photos, and the occasional meme. I’d love to see a video of my mom, hear her voice again. It’s one of the things that’s beginning to fade from my memory.

But her spirit will always remain. So even though it’s difficult, I’ll try to describe this beautiful soul.

Before we get to that, there’s this….breast cancer….

Cancer is so much more than a disease that takes over someone’s body, it bleeds into the lives of everyone around them. It’s devastating. And I realize that now, but when my mom was first diagnosed, I chose to be in denial. I chose to continue on with my life,  as if nothing had changed. It’s one of my biggest regrets. I was in college, I was an “adult,” yet I wasn’t. I didnt know how to cope with these things and I was optimistic. My mom’s a fighter, she’ll get through this… Even that last day in the hospital, it didn’t hit me until I was sitting next to her in her medically induced coma, alone, while everyone else was talking to the Dr’s. I didn’t want to leave her side and I asked her to stay. 10 minutes or an eternity later, everyone came back in the room. We all knew what was about to happen, so we sang…

Amazing Grace.

She loved music and playing the piano. She played regularly for our church and I loved to see her up there banging on those keys. She played with such concentration and passion. She dove into the music and everyone could feel it. It enveloped you.

Although this is part of her story, cancer shouldn’t define her. It should be a blip on the timeline that was her life. It’s not her. I don’t want that to be my memories.

I want these to be.

She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She used to take sick days or vacation at her regular job so that she could help out in a Special Ed classroom. She even started writing a monthly newsletter for them and the kids absolutely loved her. I go to this same classroom to help out every once and a while and I know the draw. The kids are amazing.

She would give you the shirt off her back and then buy you an extra one just in case. She was always looking for ways to help other people. The last several years she would always pick a Thanksgiving or Christmas wish to help out a family or individual in need. And usually she would take us with her when she dropped off their gifts. I remember one year a women asked for money to buy a professional outfit so she could go on job interviews. Instead of one, my Mom gave her gift cards to buy several and she was so grateful. I’ve tried to carry on this tradition in some way or another every year.

She was a bit gullible, like the one time my uncle convinced her that Mexican style blankets or ponchos were called Moca’s (moo-ka). We still use this word today, lol.
She was funny. One time we drove down to Florida and we were following my Aunt and Uncle (pre-cell phones) and their blinker was on for the longest time. So we pulled up next to them on the highway and she’s mouthing and saying in slow motion several times, ” yooooouuu’reee bllllliiiiinkkkkkeeeerss onnnn.” You probably had to be there, but trust me, it was hilarious.

She wasn’t the greatest cook, but she tried, lol. Baked chicken and baked potatoes were her specialities.

She was my best friend. We used to talk to each other on the phone every single day for at least an hour. We’d talk about anything and everything.

She was a great Mom and an amazing example. She taught me how to be generous, compassionate, kind and so many other amazing things. She helped me become the person I am today.

Thank you Mom.

Happy Mothers Day.

Love, Jill

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