The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

Remembering mom

On the Bright Side

 


As Mother’s Day approaches, as I always do, I can’t help thinking about and remembering my mom, who passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 29, 2003. I still remember that morning like it was yesterday, and I still miss her so.

I got up early and felt some urgency to be with her that morning. She was asleep in her hospital bed in the living room, breathing shallowly. I kissed her and told her it was all right for her to go, and she went almost immediately. It was something we had discussed before, but saying it out loud at that moment was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

It was an inevitable end to my mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer, but knowing it was coming did not make it any easier. It was something that we were expecting but that did not lessen the pain, the finality of her passing. I lost my mother and my best friend, and this world lost one of its brightest lights.

I don’t know that my mother ever really knew how incredibly special she was -- she was always the type of woman who steered attention away from herself and onto others. Perhaps that was what endeared her to so many people…or maybe they were just drawn to her sunny smile, or her optimistic attitude, or her cheerful spirit. At any rate, my mother was always the kind of person other people like to be around.

She did not necessarily have an easy life, but she made it a good one. She knew her share of heartache and pain, and yet she was the one who first and always taught me to look on the bright side. I’m told that times were lean when I was small but I never knew it at the time; I just remember the good times we had – all of my fondest childhood memories are centered around my mother.

Life got harder for Mom as we all grew older. She dealt with the illness and eventual total disability of her younger daughter, and she cared for her own elderly mother after my grandfather died. She nursed my father through several heart attacks, back surgeries and his final days with congestive heart failure. She suffered her own heart attack and angioplasty, and a thyroid surgery that robbed her of her beautiful singing voice. And she battled – and beat – breast cancer twice.

The pancreatic cancer may have won out in the end, but Mom staved it off for a good long while, three years from the time of her diagnosis. She met her last challenge with the same dignity and optimism with which she met any other challenge. The diagnosis was devastating when we heard it, but Mom kept her sense of humor and her spirit of adventure, and we got on with the business of living in the here and now – not dreading the future – and making the most of whatever time she had left. Even on the day before she died, though she was so weak she could hardly speak, she managed a joke and a smile.

Through good times and bad in her life, right up to the end, Mom always maintained her sense of wonder and enjoyment of life. By her example, she taught me to dream and to learn, to enjoy and appreciate, and to not be afraid to try new things. I will always be grateful to her for that.

I will always be grateful that Mom and I got some extra time together those last three years, during which time we laughed a lot and cried a lot and got to know each other even better. My mother was always such an important and integral part of my life, and through my last concentrated and extended experience with her – on her own turf, in her home here in Tehachapi – I received the additional blessing of seeing for myself how she touched the lives of so many other people as well.

I was lucky to have the chance to say all the things I wanted to say to my mother before she died, and while I wish everyone a very happy Mother’s Day this weekend, I also want to remind you to let your own mother know how very much she means to you, if you don’t already do it regularly.

© Copyright 2017. Mel White, a local writer/photographer, has been writing “On the Bright Side” columns for various newspapers since 1996. She is also co-owner/founder of the unusual and eclectic Treasure Trove in downtown Tehachapi; she can be reached at morningland@msn.com

© Copyright 2017. Mel White, a local writer/photographer, has been writing “On the Bright Side” columns for various newspapers since 1996. She is also co-owner/founder of the unusual and eclectic Treasure Trove in downtown Tehachapi; she can be reached at morningland@msn.com

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017

Rendered 05/15/2017 04:29