My mom. Taken in March 2015
My mother died on December 4, 2015. She had a long and productive life. No one could ask for me. She remained healthy until the last five months of her life and she lived every minute she could. Recently I sent her obit to some friends. They were impressed by the life she led. For that reason, I’m sharing a few things I learned from my mom in the Tribute I wrote to her on her 90th Birthday (seven years ago).
This month my mom will celebrate a very important birthday. I can’t reveal which one because she’s very sensitive about that. I can reveal how she deals with life and living.
People tell me my mom is amazing. She never uses her age as an excuse for not doing whatever she wants. With the dawn of each new day, she learns new things, experiments with new ideas, creates new projects. She told me once that she considers all these new tasks a weakness because she never stays very long with any of them. I consider them part of her thirst for learning.
An avid reader, my mom keeps me stocked with all the latest books on the New York Times bestseller list. I’ve never seen her without a book. She participates in learning programs at a senior learning center. Now she’s taking sign language and loving it. She studies 19th Century literature and history. She continues to go to her exercise classes three times a week.
Nope, I can’t tell you her age, but I can hear you saying, “Well, I’d be like her mom, too, if I had my health.” My mom hasn’t always been healthy. In fact 27 years ago she had a massive heart attack which resulted in major heart damage. Did that slow her down? Maybe it did for a short time, but not for long. In that same year she had by-pass surgery. Since then she’s monitored her heart. She’s definitely had heart issues, but that has not prevented her from living.
In fact she told me in June her college friends (who are 2 years older than she is) want to go to their college reunion several states away. The reunion is a big one, too, but I can’t tell you which one. Mum’s the word. She asked me if I’d go with her. Yes, of course I’ll go. I’ll go and drink up the love of life that will surround me in the presence of my mom and her friends.
Sometimes my mom refers to others as ‘old ladies.’ I wonder whom she’s talking about. Many of the ‘old ladies’ are younger than she is. It occurred to me that, yes, those ‘old ladies’ are younger than she is in years but not mentally. Mentally my mom will never be an old lady. That makes her special and a perfect role model for me.
I love you, Mom. Thanks for showing me how to live.
Written seven years ago, little changed up until the last months of her life. She was a professional woman who took over my dad’s furniture decorating business when he died. She was in her early forties then and left with three children under the age of ten. Later, she began her career as a social worker. She stayed in that job until her retirement. But, while there she studied Shakespeare and completed the first year of her Master’s Degree.
She was a remarkable woman. I was fortunate to have been her daughter. I leave you with these tips:
- Never let your age slow you down
- Don’t give up in the face of adversity
- When faced with a challenge, meet it head on
- Live each day to the fullest
- Ride your bike every morning
- Read your book every day
- Enjoy the new technology and embrace it
- And never say ‘no’ to a stray cat!