16 years ago yesterday, my adoptive mother left this world. I was adopted as an infant so while she is my adoptive mother, she is the only mother I have known. I didn't always agree with her, in fact we hadn't spoken for a year when she died. My brother phoned me to tell me her time was close, so I got on a plane and came to her. When I got to her bedside, she was not responsive. Did she know I was there? I don't know. I'd like to think she did.
She was born 3 months premature at the beginning of the Great Depression. The fact that she even survived is a miracle. Sadly, her mother did not survive and died 6 months after she was born. Her dad was a musician and traveled a lot so she and her older sister were given to relatives to raise.
Despite her rough beginning, she did grow up, go to school, graduate and get married. Her first marriage was cut short when her new husband decided to leave her and her infant son (my brother) for another woman. This was during a time when these things were not common and unfortunately she bore the brunt of being a "divorced woman" (as in "hide your husbands...here she comes"). Those were tough times for her, but she found a job as a dental assistant and got on with life.
She eventually met and married my adoptive father and I came along about 4 years later. There were a lot of decisions she made during my childhood that I didn't understand at the time and still don't agree with today, but now I understand what her mindset was at the time. I wouldn't say they had a happy marriage, but I think that to her, it was better than divorce....a road she had already been down. So she stayed married to him. I think its safe to say that she didn't have the best judgement when it came to men.
Despite the rough roads in her life, she was a very kind person. The moment she met you, you were her friend. She was just that way....and people loved her. She had a lot of friends and was always on the phone, keeping up with everyone, wanting to know how they were doing. She took an interest in everyone. She loved to entertain and people loved to come. She had parties, lots of them. Some of my earliest memories are of the parties she used to throw. That's also where I got my first exposure to alcohol. I share that story in my Guide For Finding Freedom From Alcohol (download here).
As she got older she developed Parkinson's disease and dementia, which eventually took her life. Today, I don't even remember what it was that happened exactly for us to not talk for that year before she died. Just goes to show how trivial some things are in the big picture of life.
She always wanted to travel, but never got the opportunity. After she died, I took some of her ashes with me when I traveled to different parts of the world. She loved the beach and always wanted to visit warm tropical areas, so I discretely left some of her ashes on beaches in Mexico and Hawaii. She also wanted to go see Europe, so I left some of her ashes in Italy...on a beach of course. I think she would have liked that.
I admire my mom because despite her rough patches in life, she choose to be kind, forgiving and accepting. Qualities that I didn't appreciate when I was younger, but I do today.
Until next time,