January 23, 1963 – the day my mom was born. The day this world gained such a bright light, such a hard worker, and such a fierce caretaker. I’m always grateful on this day, because all of those attributes made her into the best Mom in the world. I’m biased, sure, but that’s the beauty of having your own blog! 🙂
As a child, you don’t realize all your mom does for you. She’s just the one you go to no matter what….the stomach bug, scraped knees, hurt feelings. My childhood was a lot of boo-boos and strep throat (shout out to those kids with the terrible immune systems) and when you’re a kid, it’s all about you ALL. THE. TIME. Mom is up with you at all hours of the night, that’s what she does. She gets the medicine, she buys the Gatorade, she does it all. But through adult eyes, I’ve seen my mom play that role in other scenarios and I now know everything a caretaker sacrifices: Sleep. Hot meals. Sleep. Their own immune system. Did I mention sleep?
In 2015, my grandma suffered a stroke. My mom, sister, and I rushed to Ohio to be with her. Mom made sure every test was done and every option was visited. When we made the family decision to enter hospice, my mom and I stayed with Mema. Mom never left the facility so she wouldn’t be alone. She talked to her, brushed her hair, made sure she was comfortable. She slept in a crappy recliner holding her hand every night. Mom was in 100% and I learned how important it was to be an advocate for those you love. It was a firsthand look at how much my mom gives of herself and I gained so much respect for her strength in that situation.
What we didn’t know is that was training for all of Dad’s ups and downs. We started with a heart surgery. Once we realized that wasn’t going as planned, mom took the lead and stood up for my dad to ensure the staff would give him the care he deserved. (Perhaps a post on today’s medical practices and their flaws will be a topic for another time…) Mom knew she could take better care of Dad…and she did. He had every piece of equipment he could need: canes, tables, pill separators, etc. In April, when Dad entered the hospital and we began the amputation process, Mom used her positivity to get the family through the hard times. Fortunately, my family is never at a loss for a joke. But Mom made sure we had the right environment to still be us. Hospitals can feel cold, lonely, and depressing. But we became the room the nurses fought to have because Mom made it fun while making sure the needs were met. She never lost hope and she got Dad through PT and rehab. She went to multiple education sessions. Mom truly could get an honorary nursing degree based on her knowledge and patience. She learned to transfer Dad and assist in any way he could possibly need.
When Dad came home, Mom started telecommuting. What many people don’t know is that Dad would have eaten dinner, gotten cleaned up, had nighttime meds, and go to bed around 11 or so and she would continue working until 3 or 4 in the morning. She was doing so for her team in the office and for her family at home. Barely getting sleep and a shower herself, she had a schedule to keep of Dad’s appointments, in-home and transportations via medics. Waking up at 7 am, she went nonstop and she put her whole self in.
She gave the same in Dad’s last days on Earth. She made sure he had everything, she stayed positive in the darkest times. She greeted friends and family flawlessly as they came to give their goodbyes. A situation that’s not easy for anyone, but Mom’s spirit and humor aided in anyone’s feelings of discomfort. She has stayed strong through our whole process of learning to live without Dad physically and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She goes to work and gives her all, she always does the right thing, she’s never used her circumstances as an excuse. She’s superwoman.
While I hope and pray our hardships are coming to an end, I know that I can stand strong and power through, even if more comes our way. I know positivity always has a place, no matter the situation. And I know that if you work hard, there is nothing to regret in the end.
Mom, I know all of this because of you. You are the epitome of what I want to be as a wife and mom. And you are one of the best people this world has ever known. We’re so lucky to have you. Happy Birthday, Mom!