I should start by saying I'm generally a very private person who cultivates few close personal friendships. That's probably why I gravitated towards Terrific Pets, where I can occasionally "participate" with relative anonymity. Now, however, I find a need to "reach out" - while still maintaining my privacy so I hope you'll bear with me. If I were a more outgoing sort I would gravitate towards those like "normap", "dogueEdaddy", "superwoman", "Majorlover", "rednosered", & "mypoodlerocks" (who's parents, incidentally, should be very proud of the very nice young woman they're raising). I'm sure there are others whose screen names escape me at the moment, with apologies.
The first really definitive memory I have of my mom is from when I was about 5 years old (the youngest of 3 kids), & my mom built us a most wonderful treehouse on our small rural rented property in upstate NY. Other memories from that time (early 1950s), also include our first dog giving birth to her (first, last, & only) litter of puppies on my bed & I felt very, very "special"!
Throughout our childhood my mom spent her days taking us kids to the library routinely & reading novels to us in installments at bedtime to introduce us to the wonderful world of the written word. My mom also frequently & routinely took us 3 kids to a huge state park nearby for picnics while my dad was at work, & on occasions, on weekends all five of us picnicked there.
I heard my mom cuss once. When I was about 16 I was sitting in my bedroom across the hallway from my mom's bedroom when she dropped a spool of thread. As she tried to retrieve it the spool kept bouncing around in & out of her hands as the thread unraveled more & more until it finally hit the floor & rolled down the hallway, all the time while she was holding on to the end of the thread. That's when I heard "it!" - "dammit"! She was horrified & I teased her about it forever more.
In early 1994 at the age of 70, my mom first suffered a heart attack while in the doctor's office for a routine appointment. While recovering from a quadruple bypass the doctors expressed concerns about a problem developing in my mom's mouth & urged her to see an oral surgeon after she fully recovered from the bypass surgery. At the end of 1994 my mom, a lifetime non-smoker, then underwent surgery to remove the oral cancer growing in her mouth. In the process she lost the entire right side of her bottom jaw when the bone shattered due to the follow-up chemotherapy treatments.
Following her bout with cancer, my mom remained active in community affairs, focusing her efforts on support for the local library & the parks department. Her choices of volunteer activities were a direct result of her love of children & her unwavering belief in their need to learn to respect nature, to open up their world through books, to experience the pure unadulterated joy of being children.
While in her 70s I remember being a tad peeved with her because she insisted on joining in a community-wide effort to clean up the area & participated in a roadside clean-up campaign one weekend in which she walked blocks picking up trash along side the roadway.
In late 2003 our world was again rocked when my mom's oral cancer returned (after being 9 years cancer-free), & she was hospitalized 100 miles from home to again undergo surgery to remove the invasive cancer. After two months in the hospital (with my stepdad visiting her daily through ride sharing with one of us 3 kids), my mom was transferred to a nursing home only about 15 miles from her home where she stayed for 2 more months (Jan./Feb., 2004) before finally being able to return to her beloved home & husband. This time my mom lost her entire bottom jaw & part of her tongue. What was left of my mom's tongue soon fused to the roof of her mouth & atrophied & she had to be tube fed 5 times a day (by my amazingly devoted stepdad), these past 3+ years. As you might imagine, it also made talking very, very difficult but she never lost touch with the ability to communicate her joy of life.
True to my mom's nature, she still got up & dressed every day, with her first order of business being to make their bed, & she still faced each & every day with an amazing sparkle in her eyes, a "smile" on her face, & a song in her heart.
The first week of April my mom attended another community meeting but a week later we received a call from my stepdad that my mom was being ambulanced to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. We received the call at about 2:30 a.m. & I was visiting with her in the hospital by 4:30 that morning (we live quite a distance away). My mom looked more alert than she had in the past few weeks. I'd been going down weekly to visit since last Christmas, quietly sitting by her side on the couch holding her hand & going through old photos or just reminiscing about "the good ol' days". If she napped I was able to sneak in doing their laundry - but if she caught me she'd insist on taking over. I'm thinking now she may have been oxygen deprived recently & having received it in the hospital she had bounced back in a most beautiful way.
We thoroughly enjoyed a very nice visit, just the 2 of us, while other family members waited their turn in the lobby. My mom was "sheepish" about "the fuss", getting my brother & his wife, our stepdad, & my husband & me (my oldest sibling lives out of state), out & about at such an early hour. That evening our son & his wife visited their grandma, joining my brother & his wife, my stepdad, & one of my nieces, too, where by all accounts a lot of loving, hugging, & laugher went around with my mom an enthusiastic participant. She fell sound asleep before all her visitors tiptoed quietly away at about 9:00 p.m. that evening & at 8:30 the next morning the hospital called my stepdad to let him know my mom, at age 83 years & (almost) 6 months, & (as she lived her entire life), with a heart full of love both for her family & from her family, had just quietly slipped away in her sleep that morning (4 weeks ago). Almost 59 years of a constant source of unconditional love; I miss her so much. God rest her soul...
***Edited By: Lucky Lady on 5/13/2007 3:12:21 AM*** Reason: updated for Mother's Day, 2007
"Mastiffluv", my very sincerest thanks to you too for your very kind words. Yeah, today was a toughie all right but a visit from our son & daughter-in-law did bring much joy into my day. It sure does come in waves & I spent the day feeling "distracted", like something was left "undone" & I'm sure it was my "Mom's Day" fix that I was missing.
One of the cards I received seemed so beautifully perfect in its sentiment: "No time on earth is long enough to share with those we love or to prepare our hearts for good-bye. May time soften the pain until all that remains is the comfort of memories and the love, always the love."
Amen to that. And a very, very Happy Mother's Day to all you other mom's "out there".
I just read this lovely tribute the day after Mother's Day and I was really feeling sorry for myself since my Daughter or my Husband didn't make an effort to acknowlege Mother's Day. It was just another day as far as they were concerned. I talked to my Mom on the phone and discussed the gift that I sent her and was depressed that she was 1,800 miles away and I missed having her here with me.
Then I read your tribute to your Mother and realized what a baby I a feeling sorry for myself when I am so lucky that Iam healthy and my family is all healthy and that life is exactly how you make it. Each day on this Earth is a gift.
So, I've learned a valuable lesson from your wonderful Mother. Thanks for sharing your tribute of her.
"pitpat2az" - Wow... whew... thank you very, very much for your heartfelt post! Yeah, count your blessings, that you were able to speak with your mom on the telephone & realize, always, how very important your telephone call to your mom was! I envy you.
With all due respect to your daughter & hubby, who I'm sure are generally very loving (if they're anything like you!), I'd like to poke 'em in the nose right about now. While I'd like to think I always appreciated what a very important presence my mom was in my life I really had no idea what a tremendous void her absence would leave in its wake. For all of those whose moms are still very much a part of your lives, please, count your blessings.
Sorry to revive an old (long) painful post but "the saga" continues...
One of the primary joys in the life of my parents these past many years has been their beloved (8 year old) mini-dachshund & he was a tremendous comfort to my (82 year old) dad following the loss of my mom. On June 6th, however, we were all kicked in the chest once again when their beloved little guy had to be put to sleep due to a dibilitating heart attack suffered on the evening of June 5th, leaving my (step) dad REALLY alone-alone for probably the first time in his life!
A dear family friend who lives in the interior of AK has amazingly offered to ship my (step) dad their loved 9 year old (VERY healthy) mini-dachshund realizing that their winters (often -40 to -60 degree temps) have become pretty intolerable for their little guy. Plus, with their youngest child heading off to college this Fall & the husband retiring later this summer along with their plans to travel extensively, they realize this will be in their little guy's very best interest too. So, okay, "gang", reassure me here, PLEASE - dachshunds can live well into their mid-teens, right? And please keep your fingers crossed for our family!
Thank you bunches, MEB, for your very kind - & very encouraging words! Yes, my mom was very, very special indeed &, when reading a thread about another "mom" on here (posted by another daughter; I suspect you know who), my first thought was that I wish my mom could have been her mom so she would have always known from the get-go how truly loved she was - but then that would make her an ol' lady too like ME (lol)!
My dad's new little best buddy arrives this Friday at noon (from Fairbanks), & we're all so excited! We just found out that the new pup turned 10 on June 1st, though, so that is a concern. The last thing our dad needs right now in his life is the loss of another loved one - BUT! - the pup passed his vet check yesterday with flying colors & we know a very young puppy would have been a handful for my 82 year old dad, so we all have very, VERY high hopes this is a match made in Heaven - you know, much like you & your hubby! Thanks again MEB!