Since I have no children of my own, Mother’s Day for me is a time to reflect and be thankful for all that my mom has done for me and everything she has been to me—mother, friend, confidante, source of support and advice, and so much more. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the relationship between my mom and I has evolved since I’ve grown into an adult. These reflections have led me to the realization that even though I’m not a kid anymore, I still have so much to learn from my mom, and she continues to be an incredible source of inspiration to me.
In March 2010, we learned that my stepdad, Steve, had been diagnosed with kidney cancer. We were hopeful that he could beat it, but the news was still devastating. Over the next 10 months, I watched as my mom demonstrated strength and resolve that she never knew she possessed as she took care of Steve and made sure he got the best care from the best doctors. They tried every treatment that carried a possibility of curing him. The entire time, she kept working, ensuring that all of her employees were taken care of too (she works in human resources for a bank with several locations in southern Indiana). It must have been incredibly exhausting, going back and forth between the hospital and work and never stopping. She seldom complained, but she wasn’t afraid to be honest with me about her struggles and rely on me as a source of support.
Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, Steve passed away on January 16, 2011. Even though we knew it was coming, it was still really hard. I had never seen my mom so distraught, and it scared me. There was never a struggle that she hadn’t bounced back from, but I wasn’t sure how she would react to losing the love of her life so suddenly. They were a perfect match with an amazing relationship, and the only version of her future she envisioned included him by her side.
Slowly but surely, my mom started over. It wasn’t easy, but she kept moving forward each day. Over the course of the past year, her determination to live a life of purpose and to continue to find joy has inspired me. It would have been so easy for her to give up, to mope, to wallow. Instead, she chose to learn new things, take on new projects, meet new people, and thrive. She is a shining example to me of someone who just won’t quit, regardless of the obstacles in her path. It’s not that she never has moments of despair along her journey, but she doesn’t let those overshadow her ability to rise above them and find her way back to happiness. I am truly thankful to have a mother like her, and I hope I never stop learning from her.
Happy Mother’s Day!