Last week we learned that my Mom's cancer has spread and she has only months to live. I was on the phone with her and the doctor when the bad news was delivered. She took it calmly and pretty matter-of-factly and actually said to me, "well, I was just had my death warrant signed but I have to go get ready for Bingo." I was the one taking it hard..she was the one who was consoling me. I am 57 years old and I still cannot imagine life here on the planet without my Mom. She is, well, you know, my mother. The woman who I thought was stupid when I was a teenager. The woman who I thought did not do so good of a job raising my brothers. The woman who I disrespected on a regular basis through- out my twenties, cause she did not see the world the way I saw it. She was not a feminist; she put up with anything my dad wanted to dish out, she was mostly a stay at home Mom who cooked the meals, cleaned the house and took care of us kids..Geez...I used to think her life was so boring..and why did she not put my Dad in his place for the way he treated her? My Mom met my Dad when she was 15 years old. She quickly fell head over heels in love with the older (21) year old good-looking dare devil that swept her off her feet. They married when she was only 16. She gave birth to my oldest brother at 17, my sister at 18, my next brother at 19, me at 21 and my younger brother at 22. My Dad was 28. They had 5 children under the age of 7...wow! Can you imagine that?
My Mom was barely out of her teens, still in adolescence by today's standards, and she had 5 young children to care for. I can't imagine the stress on my Father. He dropped out of college to work full time to feed his brood. He and my Mother fought constantly. Usually it was over money, or lack of it. He felt like she was a foolish spender, she was always trying to defend her grocery purchases and other necessary items. We ate as cheaply as possible, except on Friday when my Dad got paid. Then we had steak. My Mom was young and it showed in her love of game playing with us. She sat on the floor playing jacks with my sister and me. She loved playing board games like Monopoly or Risk or Rummy Royal. She was often barefooted and she wore "house dresses', which she always put on a fresh one, combed her hair and put on a little lipstick when my Dad was due home from work. That is all the make-up she ever wore. She took good care of us kids. We had a clean home, clean clothes and she was always there. We ate dinner together every night. I just saw a statistic that said less than 20% of families eat dinner together on any sort of regular basis. We had no choice when I was growing up. We had to eat together; it was required. She did the laundry on Mondays, cooked spaghetti on Wednesdays and did the grocery shopping on Fridays. (My Dad drove her to the grocery store cause she didn't have a drivers license until I was a teenager). I'm not sure she really had "fun" in her life, but not too long ago she referred to those times as "the good old days." So i really don't know for sure if it was what she desired for her life..it was definitely what she and my father created for their life. I do know one thing for sure; she loved my Dad. I can honestly say I don't know why, as he was not really very nice to her, but she did. He was the only man ever in her life. Ever. Wow, how many of us can say that? I guess when two souls are meant to be...I don't know though, if he really loved her. Maybe, sort of, in his own way...I do know he did love us, his kids. So here we are. She is facing the end of her life..soon. I wonder if she has any regrets. I wonder if she wishes she had done anything different..I wonder if she is sorry for anything that she did or did not do. I wonder if I should ask her any of these questions...I wonder if she will get to spirit and look at what she had planned for this lifetime and say, "yep, I did it right" or "whoops, I blew it this lifetime!"I don't know the answers to a whole lot of these questions, but I do know one thing for absolute sure..she is not dying today so I can tell her thank you for giving me life, thank you for putting up with me when I was a wild teenager, thank you for forgiving me when I was foolish enough and still young enough to think I was the smart one,and thank you for agreeing to be my mother in this lifetime and teaching me the meaning of "family"..I love you.