A Love Letter To My Mother
When I was growing up, my mother struck the perfect balance between disciplinarian and cheerleader. I knew I couldn’t get away with anything, but I also knew she would support whatever dream I wanted to chase. To her, nothing was impossible as long as you put the effort in, and she proved that to me more than once. On my high school graduation, she gave me an incredibly unexpected and beautiful gift, she released her parental control. She started viewing me as an adult rather than a child, and allowed me to make my own choices without her judgement. Before long, we became great friends, and when her marriage ended, we became roommates. I know that probably sounds very strange, but at that time she was in her late thirties, trim, athletic, and with more energy than folks half her age, including me. She ran circles around me, including biking, swimming, and partying, and we double dated on a number of occasions.
Throughout her life, she retained an almost childlike innocence despite facing challenges that would have hardened most of us. She believed in the goodness of people, and though that bit her more than once, she remained true to her faith. Holidays, adventures, and a child’s laughter, caused the same light of excitement to shine in her eyes at 60, as it had at 6. Her greatest attribute though was her generosity. If someone complimented her on something she had, she would offer it as a gift. If she were down to her last bit of food and someone complained of hunger, she would give it to them without a second thought. I’ve never met anyone else that had such an abundance for giving, with no thought of gain or position, just trying to help when she saw a need.
In her early seventies, she was diagnosed with both Lung Cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After having a portion of her left lung removed, she battled the lymphoma holistically, and had 5 relatively good years. A bad fall and a three week hospital stay changed that, and the cancer took hold in the fall of 2009. Something else had changed as well, the light that I had seen in her eyes for all those years, was dimming, but I refused to accept it. I felt that I could will her to fight, and to live. I begged, pleaded, lectured, cried, and stormed. I tried every trick I had learned in all my time with her, to get that flame burning again, and I kept trying until the day before she passed.
What I didn’t realize until it was too late, is that I wasted my last days with her. I should have recognized and accepted what was coming, and cherished every moment , instead of trying to hang on to something that would never materialize. I was so consumed with buying time, that I lost what little I had. Worse than that though, is in pushing so hard for her to live, I didn’t make it easier for her to die.
It’s been almost 6 years now since she left, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry, but always I miss her beautiful soul. Oh, if we could only turn back the clock and change some of our choices, but we can’t, we have to move forward and hopefully, use our experiences to better handle what lies ahead. So this is my Love Letter to my Mother on Thanksgiving.
Thank you for all you have done, and all you’ve been. Thank you for your love, understanding, and support. You taught me what’s truly important, not by word, but by example. Your strength, humor, tolerance, and love of life will remain always in my mind and in my heart. My love and respect for you continues to grow each day, and I will try always to live up to the potential you saw in me.
Until we meet again,
Your daughter and your friend,
For those that have chosen to read this, should you find yourself facing a similar situation, I hope this story will be of help.
A Love Letter to My Mother
Heather M Spencer
Mission Positive Films