This week my mother would have turned 78 years old, had she not passed away six years ago. Coincidentally, she happened to die while I was in the Phase portion of my development – so my final conversation with her was from a homeless shelter, albeit one with a recovery program, a place I am positive she never envisioned for her second eldest, and arguably, at least on my part, her favorite son.
So she died with a sober child – and I would suspect that was a blessing – at least she said so at the time. Another thing she probably never envisioned, though she had no idea of the pain and self-destructive behavior that had brought me to this place.
What she envisioned for me was happiness, a rewarding career, children, all the things that make up “success” in the minds of most, and up until that day, those visions had become true, at least from her perspective. As we like to say, “She didn’t know what she didn’t know.”
The last thing she told me – and we both knew it would be our final conversation – was that of all I had done in my life, that seemingly “successful” life – what I was doing here, at this place, made her the proudest of any of it; and, as mothers do, issued a final reminder that she would be watching. I know she has and continues to.
What she never envisioned, though, was what life for me has become, a second chance; an opportunity to serve; a chance to regain my family and gain new passions; to live life with focus and purpose; to help someone as I had been helped.
My mom graduated from high school when she was 52 – but was the smartest woman I’ve ever met. She taught us all how to read before we even went to school, she scraped up money to buy me a used typewriter when I was seven, and that changed my life. She played a mean game of rummy and was virtually unbeatable on Jeopardy.
She was our fiercest protector and at times our harshest critic – and there’s part of me that wishes she could share my life today… but a bigger part of me knows she is.
So today, to all the moms here – and all the sons and daughters of moms, and I think that covers just about all of us – my appeal is for all of us to do something today to make mom proud.
Posted on May 8, 2015
by Marla Highbaugh filed under