Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It is with great sadness that I'm writing this blog entry for my mom. I am her daughter. On Tuesday June 12th, 2012 my mother lost her battle with cancer and passed away. I wanted to share the words with you that I spoke at her Memorial Service- so you would have the chance to know what a wonderful and gifted mother she was.

     "If I had to use one word to describe my mother it would be “unafraid.” She probably would have told you there were things she was afraid of. But to me she never acted like she was afraid of anything. My mother had confidence and I believe that confidence is just another form of courage.
     So when she called and told me her cancer came back she appeared to be unafraid. She didn’t tell me how big the tumor was or that this was a type of cancer that had no cure, just that she was going to have chemo and I should not worry about her, she would be fine.
    After we hung up the phone the first thing that popped into my mind was my chicken Wheezy. Never have I had a chicken who seemed so unafraid of people from the minute I took her out of the shipping box. Just a year ago my mom had sat with me as we both watched in amazement as 3 day old Wheezy hopped out of her cage and right into my lap. Then I gave her to my mom to hold of course. I’m not sure if my mom really loved chickens, but since I loved them she was determined to share in the experience, that’s just how she was.
     Over the next couple of weeks Wheezy would run down the hallway and book around my kitchen. And then she would fly up and sit on my shoulder. But true to her chicken nature when I put her outside with the flock she ignored me and went about the business of being an aloof teenage chicken. Baby chickens grow up so fast. Then that winter Wheezy got sick. I brought her into the house, hoping she would get better with some TLC. I spent the day with her just like when she was a baby, she sat on my lap as I stroked her little feathered head. And then the next morning she died. But I was so thankful I had one more day with her. It felt like such a gift.
     So when my mom got sick I was determined to have one more day with her before the Chemo changed her. As soon as I suggested it, Mom was on it. Called me back in an hour, her chemo would start on Tuesday, so we should spend the day together on Monday, April 16th. She wanted to go to Mystic Seaport. I didn’t know why she wanted to go there because we never went there when I was a kid. I didn’t remember that she loved boats, but she wanted to go so I was game.
    After we got there we climbed up on a horse-drawn wagon and took a tour. And then she told me all about coming here when she was a kid, with her mom. I should have known that this experience was not to be a nostalgic rerun, but a learning experience instead. Then after the ride we walked around a bit, sat in the church that was her favorite building and then took a look inside the planetarium. We gazed up at the high ceilings and admired the stars until a voice interrupted us.
     “Have you ever been to a planetarium before?” he asked.
     “Yes,” I told him. “When I was little my mother took me everywhere.” And then Mom and I lost it, crying and hugging each other in the shadow of this poor man who had no clue what he had said to evoke such emotion. And then we pulled ourselves together and went and had lobster for lunch, my mom’s favorite and just what she wanted.
    Thank you for our day Mom-but most of all, thank you for empowering me by example to never be afraid to stand up for myself or the people and animals that I love."

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