Sunday, February 23, 2014

Amazing Women: My Mom

Mom in 1st grade, Bradford, Massachusetts

Our Mom had a serious stroke right after the holidays and she, and our family, have been on a physical and emotional roller coaster ride since then. Mom is 92 and the stroke has affected her ability to move the left side of her body, to swallow, and to articulate her thoughts as clearly as she'd like. Luckily, the stroke left her cognitively intact.

I feel as if I have been away from this blog forever and miss both the creative outlet it provides and the friendships I have formed through blogging. I've written many posts in my head during the past six weeks but haven't had the emotional energy to put them into words.

Mom as a baby in Bradford, England

Over the past month I've come to learn a lot about my Mom that I overlooked when she was well and I took her presence in my life for granted. I learned what an incredibly strong woman she is and I'm humbled every day by her patience, positive attitude, and will to live.

Mom is a member of the Greatest Generation. Her young British parents, seeking a better life for her than the mills of Yorkshire had offered them, sailed with her to America when she was 3 years old. Mom was a child during the Depression and a young woman coming of age during WWII, when all of the men her age were overseas. 

Mom at Hampton Beach, N.H., 1943...age 22.

Uncle Arthur , Dad, Mom, Aunt Marion, Bradford, Mass., June 1946

After marrying our Dad in 1946, Mom was busy raising four daughters in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
(We definitely gave her a run for her money back then...)

Our family in 1967...Cheryl, Andrea, Joanne and Nancy with Mom & Dad
Mom was trained as an artist and continued to paint in oils when she found a free moment. She sewed all of our clothes at night after putting us to bed. She always had a passion for antiqueing, repurposing, and home decorating that she passed down to her daughters... and which continues to inspire the creativity in each of us to this day.
We saw Mom's strength when Dad, and then Nancy, got sick...
And I saw it when we I caught her "exercising" her stroke-weakened arms and legs as she lay all alone in her room at Maine Medical Center. When I asked what she was doing, she managed to tell me that she was "doing my exercises so that I can go home".  I just stood there and cried.
Mom on 91st Birthday at Texas Roadhouse...
She rode the bull!
Now I know how my sisters and I ended up to be such strong creative women.
It is because of the example Mom set for us.

So now, as I visit Mom each day, I whisper to her what I wish I had said to her more often over the years...

"Thank you, Mom...I love you."

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