Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Lady That Molded Me

Each of us are different, we all have different experiences and influences. My greatest influence was my mother, my belief system, my drive for life, my optimistic outlook of life and love, and my stubborn belief that you control your own destiny, all because of this one lady.
As I was returning this evening from my nightly run, I noticed an array of falling stars, just about every 30 seconds you could see a pitching star. As I sat there in awe, it hit me. Tomorrow will be the 6-year anniversary of my mother's passing. Six and a half years ago I received a call from my sister, she basically said, can you come home right away Mom isn't doing so well. My mother had been a cancer survivor for 11 years. I lived about 2000 miles from my birth place, I gave my notice effective immediately, packed all my belongings, and had everything shipped home. Two weeks later as I was home. As I exited customs into the reception lounge, there she was, the lady who had brought me into this world, and had threatened many times to take me back out. She was much thinner than remembered, but that beautiful smile had not changed, she had a smile that was infectious. She just stood there smiling and crying, all she said was "I am glad you are home."
The next six months was intense, I spent every minute with her, and everyone else was working, so she was mine all day, everyday. Between the doctors visits and the Chemo, we would go for long rides and picnics. As a kid I remembered that every Sunday she would take me for a car ride in the country, now it was my turn to return the favor.
My mother was 16 when she got married; at 17 she had her first kid (my brother), first car and first house on a large plot of land my grandmother had given her. By 21 she had my sister, was the only certified midwife in town, and was on her way to becoming the first certified secretary. At 31 she was pregnant with twins, my brother and I, yes there were 2 of us. Four years later, my brother died at the hands of an incompetent doctor. By the end of her career, my mother was the highest paid Account Executive in our government, boasting a large salary and 8 weeks vacation with full travel paid for she and her family.

In those 6 months, right before my eyes, my mom went from a still strong thinner version of my childhood to a helpless lady. When she first took ill, she made my sister and I promise that she would not spend her last months in a hospital. We hired nurses, rented oxygen, bought a hospital bed; the upstairs of our family house was now a sophisticated private hospital for the next 3 weeks. I remember that I was on my way home, when my mobile phone rang, "***** you have to come to the hospital now, mom isn't going to make it, we are in the cancer ward", it was my sis, and I was at least 20 minutes from the hospital. The next 30 minutes was a blur, I remember running into the ward and into her private room. The room was stark white, large window; with a large tree outside with beautiful red flowers, there a small brown bird sitting on the sill. As I approached her bed, she looked me straight in the eyes with that beautiful smile, then her head fell to the side, the bird flew around the room and then out through the window.
We spent the next week choosing flowers, casket and making all the arrangements. I was in charge of the eulogy, I had written myself, rehearsed it hundreds of times, and had it memorized. As I stood up in front of that overflowing church, I felt instantly sick, a feeling that words cannot describe.
Because of her position in government, police escort of the mandatory. So many people showed up at the private burial site, that they closed the gates to stop the in flux of mourners.

My mother believed that you were the captain of your ship, and you determine what and how much you get out of life. She never settled for second best, she always said, "if it isn’t working for you, you must change it, otherwise you only have yourself to blame". Her biggest lesson was, "you will never know unless you try, if you fail, at least you know what not to do."
I have always lived my life by her words, and I have had a wonderful life as a result. It was not an easy road by any means, but I know I would not be where I am without her philosophies. Something to think about my fellow readers.
Today is the turning point...remember that you are the captain of your destiny...never relinquish control...always plot your own course...
Devils Advocate

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