Have you ever met someone so unassumingly tough that when they demonstrate their power and might your jaw hits the floor? That’s how I feel about my mom. I’ve penned a few blog posts about my mother over the years, so this statement may not come as a shock to many of you. I, however, continue to be amazed by this gutsy octogenarian’s exploits.
Shortly after her 86th birthday this past January, my mom was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma (lung cancer). I don’t think this was truly a shock to anyone. A former tobacco smoker, my mom has emphysema and a history of severe bouts of pneumonia. The ultimate diagnosis, however, was perhaps more devastating to me than to my mom. When I questioned her as to how she felt following the initial diagnosis, my mom said, “It’s going to be what it is. If Saint Peter opens the gates for me, then I’m ready.” That peace—her peace—became my peace. There was no other way for me to accept the circumstances at hand.
So, here we are four months later, and my mom just completed her prescribed round of chemotherapy yesterday, May 11th. Additionally, she began radiation treatments—a prescribed course of thirty treatments to take place twice daily over the course of fifteen weekdays. The first two days of radiation piggybacked her final two days (6 hours and 2 hours, respectively) of chemotherapy. I don’t know about you, but this schedule is daunting to even me. But you know what—my mother handled it like Muhammad Ali handled Sonny Liston. I am awestruck.
Something and someone else I need to make mention of in this Mother’s Day tribute is my sister, Karen. She has been a steadfast anchor for my mom for not only the past few months, but for years. She is there, day in and day out, meeting what needs my proud mother sees fitting to share. As a matter of course, she has always been there to tend the flowers and lawn in summer and snow-covered driveway in winter as well as all needs that fall outside of my strong (feisty) mother’s capabilities in seasons between. But since my mother’s cancer diagnosis, my sister’s responsibilities have grown exponentially. She is the keeper of myriad appointments, the sole source of transportation to and from the many appointments, and the general caretaker of all things beyond my mother’s abilities. Don’t misconstrue this, however. I am certainly not insinuating my mother is incapable, because she absolutely is not, which amazes me, but I digress…
So, as we approach this Mother’s Day, I’m giving my biggest, loudest shout out to my mom for her continued desire, willingness and ability to kick ass. (Yes, I cursed; butt just didn’t sound as effective. #eyeroll) Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You are amazing! You’ve put forth enormous (literally and figuratively) shoes to fill. I hope to leave this life one day as a fraction of the woman and mother you are.