5 Things I Learned From My Mom
Today marks the 23rd year of life without my Mom. Here I am all grown up and raising my own children, trying to do the best I can to teach them the ins and outs of growing up. I want her legacy to live on in the values and memories I have from her. Despite the fact that she only had 13 years to instil all her wisdom in me, I did manage to soak some of it up.
Here are 5 things I learned from my Mom
1) Be kind and helpful. Even though she was disabled by the severity of the disease that ravaged her entire body, she would take her pain meds and drive herself to a local crisis centre for women and sit for hours listening and trying to helping those in need. Those women would come to the centre to see my mom because they were trying to escape abusive spouses or to talk about the loss of their loved one. She didn’t go there to talk about her suffering, she found healing for herself thru the act of helping others.
2) Be independent. Being a single mother of 2 children while coping with a chronic illness was not easy. She was forced to lean on her friends and she often leaned on me and hated every second of it. She would call out to me from her bedroom, on bad mornings, to help her get up because her joints had seized during her unrestful sleep. She told me I should learn to take care of myself, have my own money and not to need anyone. While I know that much of what she was trying to say was for me to be self sufficient and survive adversity (which I did, thankfully), her advice also came from a place of deep pain and dark suffering. It took me a long time to learn the biggest lesson from her; there is no shame in asking for help.
3) Love is kind. I learned at a young age to recognize the difference between a kind man and an unkind one. She taught me that I am worth it and that no form of aggression or violence is acceptable. No means no and my body is not a possession. As most of us do, I had to test this theory for myself, a few times but I did find love that is kind thanks to her.
4) Be fit. My Mom was not sick because she was unfit but after watching her body decay in front of my very eyes for 13 years, I came to appreciate how crippling pain can be. As a child the perception of our parents is that they’re “old” but she was only in her 30’s with a body that thought it was 90. I make my health a priority and never does a day go by that I take for granted the ability to get out of bed in the morning, pull the covers off, have a shower and pull a shirt over my head, with no pain.
5) Life goes on. I thought I would die. I wanted to die. I lost everything and then lost some more. I graduated high school with no one to take pictures of me in my cap and gown. I got my first job with no one to call. I bought my first house. I got married. I had babies. I got cancer. I run. I laugh. I sing. I love. I didn’t die because I couldn’t.
I appreciate every moment I was in her presence because thru the pain, I always felt loved and honoured. My memories are fuzzy and faded but her words are sharp in my head telling me daily that I’m doing a great job of living. I hope my daughters know how much of her I give to them.