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.
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!
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