Monday, October 5, 2009
Happy Birthday, Mommy!
I'm going to delay the Top Ten list for one day because today is my mother's birthday. She would have been seventy-nine years old. The one thing I miss most in the world is having a parent. Both of mine are gone and I'm sure I would give a lot to have one of them here.
My mom and I spoke every week - every Monday to be exact. Even if we spoke at different times during the week, Monday at 10:00am was a fixture from the time they moved to Phoenix to the night before she passed.
Did I ever tell you the story? Mr. Honey and I were newly engaged when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April. The doctors told her she probably had about six months to live. Which meant she might not make it to her birthday - and she definitely would not make it to our wedding which was set for May of the next year.
My mother, very calmly, informed her doctors that she had a daughter who was to be married next May and did they have any idea how long she'd been waiting for that? She would not be missing that wedding day.
Mr. Honey and I offered to move up the wedding day and even offered to have it in Phoenix. She said no - keep the date, keep the place. We told her we would provide whatever she needed medically - special chairs, nurse, whatever.
She said there would be no need. She would be fine.
The six months passed..then the seventh and the eighth. The doctors did a routine scan to check the progress of the cancer...
It was gone.
They redid the scan.
I made her send me a copy of the report so I could read it for myself. It said they could see no evidence of the cancer. That was in December.
She walked into my wedding under her own strength and you had to look really hard to see that she had been sick. She didn't even lose her hair with the chemo. She kept her promise.
She started feeling ill that winter and another scan showed the cancer had come back and spread through her body. I spoke with her on a Sunday night and she sounded just fine she said she knew this was going to end her life but she thought she had a long time to go. I didn't. But I didn't want to share that instinct with her. If she thought she had a long time, she had already proved the doctors wrong. I told her I would call her tomorrow for our regular chat.
The next day, a little before ten, I reached for the phone and something told me I didn't need to call cause no one was home. So I didn't call. When I got home that evening, Mr. Honey told me my father had called me. I called back and he told me 'Mom was gone." Talking to my brother, Mom collapsed a little before ten.
Mom and I talked about her service. She planned the service. She and my niece went to the cemetery and picked out the spot she wanted. She took care of most of the details and paid for everything (she even got a discount for my father's eventual service.) We talked about what she wanted to wear. She picked out everything but the scripture and songs - she let us do something!
During her service, her pastor turned to me and said. "She stayed for you. She wanted to be at your wedding." She never asked to be cured - though she would have taken it, I'm sure. But she told me she wasn't worried about me any more. (She loved her some Mr. Honey and he loved her.)
My Mom taught me a lot of things. My best and my worst lessons came from her, but I can honestly say she was a great Mom. She developed a sense of humor that I don't remember her having when I was younger. She was loyal to her family and faithful to God and the best thing she ever said to me was that she raised three of her best friends. (There were five of us - three daughters - sorry, boys.) How cool is that - to have your Mom think of you as a best friend?
Happy birthday, Mommy.
I miss you so much.