I was blessed to have not only a wonderful mother, but an incredible role model and friend. I was born 3 months premature and due to this, and all the childhood and adult illnesess/surgeries I endured, I believe my mother and I were particularly close. One of my favorite memories is when she taught me to read the Dr. Seuss book written by P.D. Eastman titled, "Are You My Mother?" Ever since then, whenever the phone rang and it was my mom, I would answer with a happy and enthusiastic, "Is this my mommy?" Who cares that I was still doing it at the age of 35. She loved it and so did I.
My mom fought many battles throughout her life. Her childhood was not pleasant and her marriage to my dad was worse. He finally left my mom, sister and me on the night of my sister's H.S. graduation. The days of walking on eggshells were finally over. We became the Three Musketeers . . .struggling to make ends meet while working various jobs and graduating from college.
Mom was dx'd with breast cancer in October of 1998 at the age of 58. She underwent a mastectomy that December followed by 12 weeks each of radiation and chemotherapy. She also endured three failed reconstructive surgeries.
She never complained and she never gave up faith that she would be cured.
Almost a week to the day of the initial diagnosis, mom was given the "all clear" sign, a promising prognosis from her oncologist and other six doctors. She was released from treatment and could return to her work/life in Andros Island, Bahamas. She returned to her classroom of 1st graders only to return home to Palm Beach a mere 6 weeks later. She had moved her bed in her trailer and had pulled a muscle. She was in a great deal of pain. My younger sister met her at the airport and upon seeing her, knew something was terribly amiss. She was admitted to the ER and released with the dx of a sprained back. The next day, she was not coherent and her oncologist admitted her to the hospital. Her oncologist found over 30 lesions on her brain. Five days later, on Christmas morning 1999, my precious mother was gone.
I am still in shock. I have so many unanswered questions. Suffering from chronic pain myself, I would never wish what she endured on anyone - least of all to the degree in which she was suffering. But the selfish part of me still wants her here . . . to talk to her on the phone . . . . to give her huge hugs and pinch her butt . . . to receive hugs in return . . . to be called "darling" and "missy." Sometimes missing the little things hurts more than missing the big ones.
I am grateful I was able to leave my job and assist in the care of my mom after her various surgeries and during her treatment. But what a rollercoaster ride it was. One minute we were wishing her happy health and bon voyage and the next, we were holding her hand and telling her to go with the angels.
I miss her so. My mother, Jane, was a petite, 90-pound ball of fire with a huge heart and contagious spirit for life. She never made an enemy and every acquaintance left as a friend. If I turn out to be 1/16 the incredible spirit my mother was, I will be blessed and feel that I have made her proud.
I miss you, mom. I know you are in a better place free of pain and fear. You deserve hat. You're in the arms of the angels - as our Christmas angel. Godspeed, to my favorite mommy. I love you always - BIG!!