No specific card to share today, just words and today seems like a good day to share them. You see today my mother would have been 60 years old today. However, when she was 38 years old it was discovered she had breast cancer and that it had been growing for approximately two years already so the odds were already against mom. Mom had had multiple health issues during those previous two years, and had a mammogram at the beginning since the doctors were going to be starting a series of treatments for her which one of the side effects was the possibility of breast cancer but they would be doing mammograms every six months to prevent this. However, her insurance at the time, and the doctor taking over the treatments said young women don't have a high risk even though mom kept asking for the mammograms. You know the doctor knows best routine. Well, they finally did one when she found a huge lump in her right breast and it gave her no satisfaction to say "I told you so". As scared as mom was, she had the mastectomy, the chemotherapy and radiation and sure enough, beat it back for over 8 months of remission.
Then in early 1990, we found out that mom's recurrent pneumonia and back pain were due to the cancer coming back in her lungs and spine. The fight was back on. This time, though, mom didn't seem to have the same fight in her. Oh, she was fighting, don't get me wrong, but it was different. I had just gotten engaged when she received the diagnosis, and she told me she "had a feeling that when I die, it will be a thank goodness this is over kind of thing." I didn't want to hear about my mom dying, especially since she was my best friend, confidante, and rock to lean on in tough times too. Two months before my wedding my mother was told she only had six weeks to live, and she told the doctor that was unacceptable because her daughter was getting married in eight weeks. She not only lived to see my wedding, but helped walk me down the aisle, made the wedding cake, my bouquet, and all of the silk flower arrangements we used for the wedding. She wanted me to always have my bouquet to remember her by, and I still do, carefully packed away from damage. In fact, mom lived for five more months after our wedding, and passed away on Pentecost Sunday, May 19th, 1991. Her last months were hard as the cancer spread like wildfire with tumors growing so big they were pushing against the skin were we could see them.
Now why do I write this post. First, yes it's mom's birthday and I'm having a hard time today wishing her happy birthday silently through wet eyes. Yes, it's been a long time, but it still hurts. Second, my pastor on her blog recently suggested thinking about what we're thankful for. Well, I'm definitely thankful for God giving me my mom, but not just for giving me life. She was a wonderful example of what a mother should be even though she had to be a single mom a good portion of my life. She was a wonderful crafter too. She could paint, color, create anything she put her mind to, knit, sew, you name it. Mom also sang, and played the organ/piano too. Mom is the one who insisted I go to church when I though it was more important to watch football games on the T.V. or just plain goof off instead. She was also the one that insisted I learn more about Jesus and learn more about having a relationship with Him instead of wanting to sit in my room reading dirty books I would hide from her and she would find. If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't be a Christian today.
Most of all, I am thankful for the memory of the teddy bear mom kept next to her as she lay dying on that hospital bed we had at home. The bear she called her Jesus Bear. You see mom taped a quarter to one of the bear's paws for when it was time to "go home" she was going to call Home to her Savior to let Him know she was on her way. As mom slipped away, my step-dad reminded mom to not forget to make her call. A few days later, I was helping clean up in the living room, and I was moving the bear to the side of the fireplace, and I noticed the tape and the quarter were both missing. There was not even the hint of tape having been on the bear's paw either and both of those had been there for over a month. So when I get down, really down, I try to remember mom's Jesus Bear and the phone call she made on her way Home.