Saturday, November 21, 2015

National Family Caregiver Month

     I recently learned that November is National Family Caregiver Month, thanks to discovering a moving blog series by Heather Von St. James highlighting her battle with mesothelioma. Her passion for raising awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos are truly inspiring. I highly recommend this site for learning more: 
I've personally been meaning to write a post honoring my Mom, and this has given me the little push I needed. (I originally wanted to do write something for Mothers' Day this year, but that clearly didn't happen.) It isn't going to be terribly long or detailed, as she isn't a fan of her personal info and stuff floating all over the Interwebs. Which is fine. 

    Growing up, I always wanted to be more like my Dad. Maybe it was because I was already a lot like my Mom, or because his coolness factor was higher because gone a lot and was more mysterious as a result. I don't know. As I've grown older, I've noticed more and more similarity between myself and Mom, from the curling of our hair and our general build, to our tone of voice in the phrases we use. I've also come to appreciate being so similar to her, for she truly is a woman I want to emulate. Granted, everyone has shortcomings, but in spite of those I believe she was a fantastic mother. She would stifle her intense fear of creeping crawling things so our curiosity wouldn't be stifled. She powered through her fear of horses, and allowed me to see the realization of my dream of having one of my own, even to the point of taking care of him if I went somewhere overnight. She gave the best support she could give when I came to her with a problem. She gave me room to grow and be and figure things out for myself. 
     She's more than just a mom, though. She's a good wife. My Dad's had more than his fair share of bad luck when it comes to health issues, and Mom's been supporting him every step of the way. Yes, she's human and exasperation does show sometimes, but more often than not her patience, kindness, love, and ability to let go of things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things are what you notice. Her example of what it means to love and cherish in sickness and in health has been a profound inspiration to me. 
     A few years ago, we found out that Grammy, Mom's mom, had terminal cancer. Mom chose to bring Grammy to live with them for what time remained to her. I can't imagine what strength it must have taken, to care for her own mother in the last days of her life. And she did it with love.
     What I keep coming back to is how brave she is, though she has a hard time seeing it. She carries on in spite of all of her fears, putting the needs and best interests of those she loves before her own. And not once have I ever received the impression that she was some sort of a martyr for doing so. It is just who Mom is, and I am proud to be her daughter. 

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