The life of my mom
Our first "assignment" for next week's grief class is to spend 10 minutes speaking about the life of the person we are grieving. Their life only not their death.
My mom starting being my mom in not so easy a way, labour with me was long and drawn out, and she hemorrhaged severely. Not long after she had brought me home, she started having psychotic thoughts similar to those with paranoid schizophrenia. My dad got her into the doctor and medicated, diagnosis, postpartum psychosis, a rare illness that appears after approximately 0.1% of births. Off she went to live with her mom, and off I went to live with my Oma. I can't imagine how hard this must have been for my mom who was having delusions that someone would kidnap me, put a micro-chip in me or kill me, because of the medication she was un-able to breastfeed. My mom wanted four kids and ended up with three, much further apart than she would have liked, and a miscarriage thrown into the mix would have made her 4 babies.
As a child my mom was with me, all the time. She got a job after I was born at the daycare up the street, so I could go and play and she could work on the premises, later she ran a home daycare, then worked at a school daycare as an ECE where my sister attended and when my sister was old enough for full time school she worked at Scholastic book fairs ( so she had off all the school holidays with her school age children). It was really quite a brilliant set up, she was awesome at being a mom and she was a good home-maker 50's style wife. The lifestyle suited her. Later in my sisters elementary school days my mom returned to university with her BA to attend teachers college. I would drop her at her school placements and take the car to my OAC's (Ontario Academic Credit...grade 13 for all you young kids)and later to my first year of college.)
When I was a kid (the oldest in the family) my mom trusted me and helped me. I specifically remember my dad pushing me to do a really hard science project, hours and hours of work, that as an 8 year old I could not do, it was much too hard. I remember my mom speaking up and taking over and letting me instead do the project on my hamster (HisHe-Chomper), side note I did that project my dad wanted the following year and made it to the regional science fairs. My mom was the softy out of the two, likely partially brought on by the fact she was home with us ALL THE TIME. Dad would ground us and mom would have to put up with us, whining, complaining, moaning, begging. She was the one dealing with it all.
My mom was ( like me) a social butterfly, she loved to travel, she knew how to do stained glass, and cross stitch. She met friends, she kept good, quality friendships, years, some of them her entire life, a majority, most of her life. She had Pam (my god mother) her whole life, Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue, & Sue (just joking but there were a lot of Sue's at least 3 probably more) Bonnie, and "the lost ladies" and before them the neighborhood ladies whom all eventually moved out of Queensville. She was also close with her sister-in-laws Brigitte and Julie, and hosted almost every single big family event that Oma or Grandma didn't. Ninety-five percent of the time if I had to attend a big family Christmas/ Easter/ Thanksgiving/ Anniversary etc it was my mom throwing it and us, her kids helping clean and host, while dad cut the lawn or organized the garage.
My mom was trustworthy, she liked playing card and board games and didn't cheat, and she was a fantastic listener. She felt things with you, and offered to do things for you. If my mom got frustrated she never (or seldomely) showed it. The only time I recall her being frustrated was when she kept getting LTO positions when 20 year olds were getting hired full time. She wasn't great at being put on the spot and I imagine her interview skills weren't perfect, but she was a fantastic teacher, patient and kind. She advocated for me to get to apply into the arts program for grade 7 & 8 in a neighbouring town even though there were no busses and I would require a ride from her carpooling. She signed me up for the extra-curricular I was interested in, and never forced me into activities I didn't like. When I really wanted to do an art class and all that was offered was adult water colour painting classes she called the instructor and asked if I could take the class if she came and sat with me each class. (and so I was registered) She trusted me and let me sleep over at guys-who-were friends houses as early as age 11, and because of this I did. I stayed at JJ's house all the time and my mom knew who my boyfriends were.
She didn't talk bad about people, she didn't yell, she was definitely the "good cop" in the relationship. She let me have my freedom, and when I was 16 she would leave to the cottage for a month with my younger siblings (my dad joining her Thurs eve till Mon eve) and I had the house to myself. The trust she had in me led me to host get togethers, and never reckless parties, she would leave a freezer full of food, and a pink dress in the closet with a pocket full of money incase I was ever stuck and needed to take a cab home. I respected her and her feelings a lot, I didn't like disappointing her.
My mom was loving, sensitive, kind, chatty, social, and low maintenance. She didn't spend time looking in the mirror or blow drying her hair, she didn't spend hours at the gym, she didn't complain about her looks, or go on crazy diets. The only time I ever remember her mentioning food was when she was giving up chocolate for lent. She was beautiful looking like herself, a little lipstick and a little mascara, a brush through her hair and she was ready to go. She taught me well, at age 40 it is rare for me to wear make-up, I'm embracing my greys, my exercise usually includes walking to and from work, and I know how to eat healthily. I am comfortable in my skin and don't own a scale. I've gained my covid 15 and regularly flip flop between trying to lose that 15lbs or staying this extra size bigger cause it means all my mom's clothes fit.
In college when my marks were wonderful, and OSAP was screwing around with my funding, my mom advocated to my dad for me to help pay for a semester's tuition, and I've mentioned in past post how she saved me first year from a domestically violent relationship. She was proud of me, she enjoyed seeing my art, she listened to me vent about having to hard code websites, she showed off the mural I painted, and she came to my graduation.
My boyfriends were always accepted by my mom, she was polite even to the one who didn't deserve it. She always took my phone calls and listened intently, she took joy in my joy, and was excited for the things that made me excited. She gave advice only if I asked, and never said "you should" she let me make my own decisions and rarely showed her disappointment if I went a direction she wouldn't have.
Like me she enjoyed getting gifts and cards the day of the special occasion. We could pick presents for each other while shopping but I'd make her hold on to mine and she'd make me wrap hers. It was for the day of the occasion so it could add to the celebration. I sent her a card for family day, announcing my pregnancy, it was ready on the counter when she arrived home from vacation. Two days later I called as I hadn't heard from her, she hadn't opened it, she thought it was an Easter card and was saving it to open then. It's for the same reason I have a book I wrote for her that she never received, it was done, but she was supposed to get it on her birthday, the one she wrote for me was on the coffee table two days before her birthday, on her death day. Ready and filled out with the last dress she bought me, ready for my 40th just two weeks away.
My mom was selfless, the fact she had cancer and was going through radiation didn't stop her from hosting my brother a second wedding shower, or attending their jack and jill. When I was planning my wedding I included her in every step, I sent her emails with updates, called her to discuss venue options and took her wedding gown shopping with me. She was fantastically supportive, and she was the one I wanted to walk me down the aisle. She looked AMAZING, her dress was stunning and her hair was perfect, and because her suite was on site of the location it was one of the few times I got to see my mom have a few drinks and dance dance dance. and let loose.
After the birth of her first grandchild Emmett my mom came and stayed with me and took care of us for a week, she took care of me again when Eva was born and again when my husband had a major operation in 2020 (right before the world closed). I think the only thing my mom loved more than her kids were her grandkids, learning her new cancer was terminal was the only time I really saw my mom sad. She was devastated by the news, and tried every chemo available and when none worked she did a trial. She wanted to be here, to see them all at every step, and was readily available to attend things like Breakfast with Santa, or Ripleys Aquarium tour, birthdays, Christmas's or just to take them for a weekend alone.
My mom was fricken' AWESOME. And that's what I plan to tell the ladies in my grief group tomorrow.
Miss you mom.