Bittersweet Mother’s Day

Posted May 16, 2011 by Jen in Tags: , ,

Twimom is on vacation and she has insanely left me holding the fort, so to speak. At first I must say I was really nervous and hoping there were plenty of books we’ve reviewed so I wouldn’t have much work. I’ve had a lot on my plate (like most of us working moms)…my little bio on the “about us” page is just a very small snippet of what I do. I have two jobs (thank you to the economy) and volunteer regularly. I have a very young son, a husband, and my parents who live just down the street. Check that, my parent.
Twimom has graciously told me to blog as I see fit. *shakes head* I am sure this is not what she intended. I know Gikany and I are, or at least we try to be light-hearted. Reading is a pleasure and reviews shouldn’t be drudgery, but an extension of that pleasure, especially if we are trying to share the wealth of fabulous books with you. I love to talk about books, this love of reading and discussion came from my upbringing. My mom and dad love to read. Most importantly they love sharing books…loaning them and them discussing them. The passion and thrill for reading came from my parents and I hope to plant this seed in my son.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. It’s been foreshadowed. *gotta love the literary terms* My mother passed away last month…April 18th, 2011. She lost her battle with melanoma. I never thought she would be gone so soon. I loaned her The Host by Stephanie Meyer…she hadn’t finished it yet…we haven’t been able to have our discussion. In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to tell you about her. My mother was diagnosed eight years ago. The first five years after her diagnosis and surgery were fine. But at the milestone, the five year check-up, it was back. There were new treatments available and that gave her another year, year and a half. They weren’t bad, she was still able to do and be her active self. This past year and a half, though, were not so good. Every four month check-up, they found more cancer which meant more surgeries and continuation of a treatment we all feared wasn’t working. Then, last October, they found yet another tumor. One that was inoperable in her leg and it was confirmed, the treatment was not working. This was the beginning of the worst part of the fight. They decided to try a new experimental treatment. Her pain was inhuman and yet, she fought. My mom was brave, stubborn and amazing.

Even though she was unable to move much due to the pain the doctors could not control, she still loved to play with her little grandson, “Munchkin”, my son that was born sixteen months ago. She made up songs and stories for him. I think he could sense her pain and yet he LOVED listening to his Nana. I hope she planted the same seed in him that was planted in me over thirty years ago. Munchkin loves to grab a book and have someone…anyone read to him. Any book he picks up must be read and reread several times before he picks up another. This is something I treasure. One of the pictures I have posted is my mom with my nephew and niece (the other is my mom with Munchkin a few hours after he was born). They too have a love for reading. I like to think my mom helped plant that passion.

Legacies are funny things. You tend to think they are something tangible, something with substance. I think the best legacy my mom left was passion: a passion for reading; the using of one’s imagination and creativity to make the world a little better place or at least make it bearable. I miss her. I miss her something terrible but I know she is no longer in pain, no longer unable to do the things she loved. I also know that my son has gained a guardian angel. An angel that will kick his momma’s rear if he goes out in the sun without his hat and sunscreen!

Please note, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled fun tomorrow. I just needed to express this, maybe so I can heal. Maybe, just maybe, this will encourage you, if you haven’t, to pick up a book and read to a child. My mom was a teacher and when she retired, due to her health, she volunteered with a group that read and brought books to underprivileged kids. My mom has planted the seed in so many, let’s continue her work.

4 responses to “Bittersweet Mother’s Day

  1. Una, so touching. I hope I leave this love of books to my children too. My oldest is probably the best reader of my three. They know I virtually always have a book on me at all times. One day when he was fourteen, I arrived to pick him up from football practice. He came running up to the car and said, “Do you have your book? I’m gonna stay a little longer and throw.” He just took it for granted that I would be happy for the excuse to sit and read while he finished up. I actually read a lot of books this way, in ten minute increments while waiting on kids. I do a lot on CD too now that that fourteen year old is twenty and away at college and drive to visit him.

    When my kids were very small, my mother would record herself reading and send the tape and the book to my kids so grandma could read them a bedtime story. I had to laugh when recordable books became the rage at Christmas this year. Sometimes technology can be a good thing. :o)

  2. B.

    What a wonderful testament to your Mother, Una. A love of reading and kind heart are wonderful legacies. My mother always read to us, and reads with my kids still. We always have a stack of “ongoing” books that meanders around the house and car. Sometimes they’ll be left in the kitchen where one of us will read while making dinner, or will have to be retrieved from the car where I read while waiting on the kids. My kiddos will now bring me their favorite books and ask me to read them just for me, which is absolutely cool. Then, they’ll follow up to make sure I read it and quiz me. 😉

    What a wonderful, loving post you’ve written, and you’re continuing what your Mom loved by encouraging those around you, especially your wonderful little one. Thank you, Una!

  3. What a lovely tribute. Thank you so much for sharing. We can all benefit from your mother’s example and I do hope writing this column has helped in your healing. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. Una, this was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. I developed a passion for reading a little later than my peers but I always cherished and loved the times when my parents read to me or told me stories as a child. Perhaps this is why I unconsciously geared my career towards libraries, reading, and advocating literacy. I hope to take part and contribute to your mom’s legacy of sharing my passion of reading with others.