My mom has always been, and always will be, the voice in my head that keeps me on the straight and narrow, especially through times when I couldn’t see two feet in front of me, much less what’s around the bend. She has been the strongest influence on my life, though most times I’d chafe at admitting it.
Throughout her 87 years, she relied on herself to overcome life’s hurdles. Her strength of character and determination saw her through many difficult trials—from the devastating loss of a child to the gauntlet of Alzheimer’s. Yet, she remained strong. It wasn’t in her nature to give up, no matter how difficult the challenge or risky the outcome. She loved an adventure.
Not to say she is the only person who ever told me I’m wrong, but she is the only person who would always tell me when I’m wrong or making a mistake. She was honest, hardworking, and had more character and personal integrity than anyone I’ve ever known. Her love, though quiet and somewhat reserved, was always there for me. It never faltered.
Over the years, Mom and I sometimes didn’t “get along.” Maybe because we were so much alike—I can be as stubborn and determined as she could—that it caused friction. We didn’t talk a lot, finding it difficult to chit-chat. Small talk wasn’t part of our pattern. Scrabble was our thing. We could get into deep conversations over a Scrabble board. We both enjoyed prowling through junk shops and the trips to them always got us talking as well. I learned more about Mom while playing Scrabble and driving to places where we could poke around dust covered bits and pieces than I would’ve dreamed possible. I cherish every game we played and every junk hunt we made.
Mom left us slowly, day by day. She lived with my sister for many years and for that I am truly grateful. I don’t know how she managed, day in and day out, watching Mom fade away, but I know I couldn’t have coped. It was hard enough to see just when I visited. Thank you my dear sister, for all that you did to take care of Mom, for keeping her safe, for making her life better.