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."

11 comments:

  1. Such a sweet post! I hope your Mom improves quickly and is able to do her "exercises" at home!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sherry...so good to hear from you!

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  2. You captured my thoughts. It is so sad now and too late to realize how strong she has been. I love her too. Andi

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  3. Dear Cheryl...Your post made me cry...made me sad because I too have been going through some really difficult days the past few months...but have not been able to write about them either. Sometimes our hearts are just so full of sadness that it's hard to express what is going on or to share it with others. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of your mother and of her strength. I hope that she will be able to recover soon so that she will be able to go home again where she wants to be. Our paths over the past few weeks seem to parallel each other and are so similar...my heart goes out to you and your family and please feel free to email me if you need to share or talk or vent...or just to chat...and I will keep you in my prayers. Love and Hugs...Kathy

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    1. Kathy,
      I would like to send you a private email. Could you please send me your email address? Seems we have a lot in common!
      Cheryl

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  4. Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear about your dear mother and her recent health issues. The ladies from that time in history have been so strong after going through the depression and the war that followed. They lived hard lives and went through many hardships that made them stronger than most women today. I pray your mother will keep doing her exercises so she can go home. Blessings and hugs, Pam

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom's stroke, but from what you said it sounds like she's a real fighter and determined to get back in the saddle again. Yes, it's understandable why you didn't blog. You kind of have to relive everything when you write about it. After long days at the hospital you just want to come home and rest. Kind of get away from it all for a short while. Hang in there!

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  6. Cheryl wishing your Mom improved health. I have an aging Mother and I know how difficult this is for all. Sending you a big hug!!
    Linda

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  7. Hi Cheryl, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  8. Cheryl, I found you here after first discovering your previous blog. Obviously, from seeing your photos and reading the posts, I can tell we have had very different lives. However, we both were blessed with good mothers with amazing character and strength. I lost mine this past September. She was 91. I'm an only child and this has been so hard for me. Just want to send you and your mother some good wishes and prayers.

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    1. Daphne,
      So sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kind comment. Love,
      Cheryl

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