By Samantha Gill
I am trying to imagine what it must have felt like for my Mom in her early 40’s to find out the news that she was terminal just around this time of the year in 1987. I am about the age she was then. She had 2 children at the time. I have 2 children. Mother’s Day and her birthday would both be coming up in May and school would be letting out with the summer approaching. Normally families would be planning their vacations or summer camp routine. I cannot imagine what that conversation was like for my parents. I can’t imagine what that visit was like at the Dr.’s. I
I was your typical middle school kid in 7th grade going about my life. I “kinda knew” back in 4th grade-ish something was “up”. There was a mole on the back of my Mom’s thigh, or “something like that” that wasn’t “ok”. I knew my Gram came and stayed with with us while my Mom went to the hospital for a while. I knew my Mom was super brave while part of her skin from one leg was taken off to grow on the part of her thigh that had ‘that mole.’ She was a “trooper”, to say the very least.
Then life just went back to “normal”. Mom was Mom. She took care of us. She was everwhere. She was at school, she brought the teacher’s “stuff” and she always made sure I was okay at school. She was involved in everything and knew everyone. She was just that kinda lady. She showed up for all of my events. She knew my friends and knew my friends parents. She knew all of my neighbor’s and talked to everyone. She loved to talk and laugh. She had a thick head of red hair and big blue eyes. She was hard to miss. If she thought something wasn’t ‘ok’, or that someone needed something, Mom took care of it or them. (I think she hid wings somewhere in the back of her clothes.)
My Mom was a former English and History teacher. She gave it all up to raise her children and to be with us. As I would walk home from the bus stop I would see her at the storm door waiting and watching for me. I would see the red hair first. (We had 2 dogs: Tippy and Taffy. They would be waiting too.) Mom always had “GH” on (General Hospital), not only did she love it but she was friends with the writer, Gloria Monty. Mom would write to her and vice versa. When I would walk in the front door, GH would be on the little TV in the kitchen with a pot of something on the stove. She would have an after school snack ready for me.
This is what I remember about Mom. I don’t remember one Mother’s Day. I really don’t. I don’t remember celebrating one birthday(s) – her’s or mine. I see photo’s, but I don’t have an actual memory. My Mom passed away November 14th of that same year – 1987.
As I type this I try to feasibly imagine leaving my kids and I well up with emotion. I can’t even fathom it. How incredibly brave my Mom was from beginning to end. How hard that must have been for her and she never ever once showed it. Not once. If anything, she tried her hardest to make it ok for US. She was worried about US, just like a Mom. On this Mother’s Day, I salute all the Mom’s who work hard every day and night to make the daily memories just like my Mom did for me because it is THOSE memories that really count. It is the every day, working hard, memories that matter. On days you may feel you’re not ‘hitting the mark’, I hope when you read this column today, it is a firm reminder that you indeed are. You are. Happy Mothers day.
Sam is a Mom of 2 girls, 8 and 6. Her 6 year old with special needs has a service dog. Her 8 yr old loves street hockey, they both love to surf and do karate. Sam hopes to take a nap someday. For now the whole tribe resides loudly in Northfield.