Dignity, poise and strength, with a side of humor please?
She is a woman who persevered through a childhood, where she, being the youngest of 7, lost her mother at age 15. She and had to take on the duties of the household. Over the past few years, she’s watched one after the other of her siblings pass away, two of them with Alzheimer Disease.
As a mother, she is my idol. Growing up, she and I didn’t always get along, especially in my rebellious teen years. But I always respected her amazing inner strength. She successfully raised and sheltered her three children through domestic abuse, abandonment and a trip by car across the entire United States with three children and a dog. She endured divorces, financial woes, and family members with addiction issues. These are only the stresses her children are aware of.
Through everything, she maintained a sense of humor. She, through her own example, instilled in her children the value of having humor in your life. We learned not to take ourselves so seriously, that we were afraid to laugh. We grew up laughing at each other and laughing at ourselves. It was O.K. to make mistakes, look like a fool and appear ignorant. We had a sense of humor and knew those were only temporary situations. Our sense of humor was there for us always.
My mother is facing her husband having cancer for a third time. This time, cancer will win. At times she forgets that. At times she becomes confused as to exactly the place, in time she actually is. But she never loses her sense of humor. When Dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer about 3 years ago, my mother was dignified, poised and strong. It has come at a great cost. The stress of being there for him and holding our family together accelerated her symptoms of Alzheimer Disease. Now it is he who tries to care for her, as long as he can.
Through it all, one thing is ever present, her sense of humor. I try, every time I visit with her, to make her laugh no less than three times. I won’t count the times she makes me laugh, those times are gifts. Her gifts to me. I am rich beyond measure with the gifts she has given me.