Our lives are so fragile. Yet, through life we find strength and beauty in those who we love.
My mom is the strongest woman I know. She is stubborn and sassy and above all else lovingly selfless. When she and Emma are together, they are like two peas in a pod. Their smiles and giggles always make me smile.
The past few days, she has been in and out of consciousness. On Saturday, we didn’t think she would wake up. As my father, sister and I sit with her in the hospital, Mom continues to amaze me with her resiliency.
From an early age, Mom has endured significant pain. She didn’t learn to walk until 18 months and when she did she fussed so much that my Grandparents took her to the doctor. It was then that they learned she had hip dysplasia. Mom spent the next year and a half in a frog-leg cast and sling. When she needed to be more mobile, they used a baby buggy. Mom once told me she thinks her love of clouds came from this time in her life that she spent laying on her back staring at the sky. Anytime I hear Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides, Now I think of Mom. Now, as I watch her laying in a hospital bed, I am fighting the urge to tape clouds to the ceiling.
Mom has always prided herself on not letting a disease define her life. If someone tells her she can’t do something, she works even harder to accomplish it. When she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005, she was told that movement would be her friend. She committed herself to building strength and when it was too cold to walk outside, she would walk loops around the main level of their home. We walked the Women’s Run together in 2015. I remember her smile as she beamed with pride as she crossed the finish line.
We do not know how many days we are given with those we love. Yesterday, Mom opened her eyes and smiled at us. Today, we have had moments with Mom. When I told her she is the strongest woman I know, she rolled her eyes at me. We have been talking about how quickly life can go. Emily shared the mantra of “live like today is your last day and treat people like you will live forever.”
Mom’s constant modeling of kindness has made so many of us better people. I am the mother, daughter, sister and woman I am today because of her guidance. I am thankful for every moment and smile she shares with us.