How My Mom Faces Adversity with Strength and Courage

Mom hugs Patty, Me 1960s

At eighty-eight years old, my mom shows more than love and affection to those she cares. She continues to face adversity with strength in a life full of hope and courage. She is a role model for others.

After the loss of my dad, her life partner for fifty-nine years in 2016, my brother, Joe, died suddenly while I visited to celebrate her birthday in 2017. He lived and took care of her since she is sight-impaired and can’t drive.

I worried so much about how she would deal with all of the loss, especially since I reeled for months afterward. I had the support of my family in Colorado. She lives alone.

Her community, friends, and family came together in all kinds of unique ways to help. She’s lucky to live in a small town that cares about each other. That’s not what I’m talking about.

Most people would wither away. Give up. Wonder what the point is in the effort to live. Not my mom.

Instead, I saw a rebirth. A renewal. A reawakening of hope and dreams. New ideas and things to look forward to like baby showers, trips to Colorado, and simple things like the routine of hair appointments.

a birthday surprise

Everyone has told her how strong she is. “I don’t know why everyone always says that,” she said after I made a similar comment. “I don’t really have a choice.”

“But you do!” I said.

Every day, we all make a choice whether to focus inward on suffering or to look ahead at the promise of today. Her attitude has been astounding.

She shines with the possibilities and plans for the future. People are attracted to that warm glow. Like everyone, she has setbacks. The other day she talked about how she carried a ladder from the garage to the front door. The chain had fallen off the screen door and she wanted to rehang it.

“You did what?” I asked. I’m thinking of my mother who grabs my arm when we are out. Blind in one eye and no peripheral in the good one, she gets off balance easily.

“Well, I couldn’t hang onto the ladder and the chain so I asked the dog-walker to do it.”

Oh. My. God.

She still makes amazing dinners for herself, bakes bread, and even dug through the attic to find a cranberry glass chandelier and had it hung.

“I have to keep living my life,” she said. “It looks really nice,” she added. I imagined her smiling while admiring the new fixture. She knows that the longer she stays in her house surrounded by her community, the better. By the way, Many of her friends are my age.

Her home is over 100-years old, a Victorian with the classic wrap-around porch. In the summer, she’ll sit on one of the wicker chairs. Neighbors walking by will stop and sit for a while to catch up.

She has become a beacon for everyone who has and will go through loss. She has stayed vibrant and interested. She enjoys her routines like cooking, baking, and entertaining. And don’t get me started about the Brewers or the Packers. Mom always finds time to tune into EWTN to say the rosary.

“Just say your prayers, and they’ll come true.”

Anyone who knows her is lucky to have her in their life.

Mom celebrating her 88th birthday with joy and lots of funny moments.


Who’s your role model? Are you inspired by your family?

Happy Mother’s Day!

How to summon strength when facing adversity loss, Woman walking in desert, Pinterest pin

Click for more inspiration and misadventures on the Wild Ride.

Related posts:

From My Kitchen Counter with Love this Mother’s Day

Boccone Dolce, Sewing Machines, Tallboys, and Mom

Don’t Tell Mom

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother


61 thoughts on “How My Mom Faces Adversity with Strength and Courage

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  1. My grandma was depressed after my grandpa died, but my mom and uncle didn’t offer her any emotional support, they just poo-pooed it. (Of course, you’re well aware of how I feel about my mom since you read my blog.) Somehow, she made it through and now she seems to be doing pretty well, despite having afib and over a decade of struggle with a pyoderma. Her current love is this series of mysteries (I don’t remember what they’re called) that have recipes interspersed with the chapters–she talks about them literally every time I call! (I think she’s missed maybe one opportunity in the last half dozen calls, haha.)

    It’s so amazing how people recover despite the blows life deals them. When I read stories in the paper of people who’ve had everything thrown at them at once, I wonder how they do it.


  2. I lost my mother (in a car accident) when I was nine. I had a stepmother shortly after that who wasn’t really a mother figure for me. It made me smile when I read about your mom and her inner beauty and strength. You’re so lucky to have her in your life, and though I’ve never met her, she is an inspiration to me as well.


    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. That must have been so tough for you without that support we need through life. I hope you’ve found many other caring people. I learn from my mom


  3. What a wonderful blog post – and what an amazing mother – to me the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I’m going to be alluding to my mom in an upcoming blog remembering her at age 100 with a big magnifying glass in one eye and a copy of the Hadassah News in the other. She outlived my father by 50 years and also was beloved by so many and was fiercely independent for so long. I also was reminded of the bereavement group I co-facilitate at United Hospice of Rockland. We have created a separate child loss group in the past year and the resilience we’ve seen is nothing short of astounding. Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mother. No doubt you both are eternally grateful to have each other in your lives.


    1. Awww! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m looking forward to your post. It sounds like you had an amazing mother too. I’m so impressed that you work in the field of bereavement. I think it’s about allowing yourself the time to accept loss while making beautiful new memories with the people you love, making plans and looking forward to the future!


  4. What a wonderful tribute to your mom, Susie! I absolutely love to hear about men and women who face adversity and loss, yet still grab hold of love and enthusiasm. Sometime not all that long ago I posted about my 85-year old mother who lost my dad a year ago after 65 years of marriage. She has absolutely shocked me in her resilience, and I think, much like your mom has made the choice to go on with courage, but no martyrdom! I celebrate this in your mother, too, and we are fortunate to have such fine examples as mothers. My mom has not lost a child. To those who have suffered, and I use that word intentionally, that loss, I can only imagine the deep pain! I send your mom a hug from an admirer here in California. Truly. ox


  5. Your mum reminds me of my own mother who is also sight and hearing impaired . Of course she’s not blind nor deaf but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying her life. Luckily she lives with my father and my brother and his family so that’s many people she can drive crazy with her energy! Our mums are made of different stuff . Wonder whether we can measure up .


  6. This is a wonderful, loving post. I miss my mom- she left us about 2 years ago at age 88.5. Even though her memory had more or less left her, she still enjoyed a good joke. I am glad to see your mom is still going strong. (I stumbled onto your blog when looking for some info on Hank Caylor. Thank you for putting so much work into designing your site.)


    1. Thanks so much, Bob!
      I’m sorry to hear about your mom but I’m glad you have the memories!
      I would love to catch up with Hank. I bet he has some stories to tell!


  7. Your mom sounds like a hoot and a fun person to be around 🙂 I so want to be like that in my 80’s – looking much younger and acting even younger – ha! As adults we should just act like big kids each and every day – play, laugh, have FUN, etc. Keep learning, exploring and adventuring too – keeps one young. Happy Day – Enjoy – Thanks for sharing this sweet, beautiful lady with us.


  8. My Mom is my role model, too. I can only hope to be as active and persevering when I reach her age. She’s the reason I love hiking so much! What would we do without our moms?? Happy Mother’s Day, Susie!


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