Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Forever and a Day

I am in this club. But not by choice. It's a club that no woman ever thinks she will be in but many find themselves there. Some when they are very young. Still girls. Others later in life. Regardless of the age you join, there is one thing for certain: every member knows how you are feeling.

If you aren't a member, you just don't know. You just don't know how it feels until it happens to you. And my only wish, readers, is that you don't have to join for a long, long time. The club I am talking about is the motherless.

It was twenty-one years ago, this evening, that my mother took her last breath. She was in the comfort of her own bed ready to go home to her own mother, father, and older sister. They had long passed but on this night they were there. She saw them and was ready.

No matter how many times I replay that night in my head and how sad I get about it, I always feel a sense of comfort. She left the world with the same people who brought her into it. 

My mother was an amazing woman. She raised three strong-willed, independent girls while working full time at whichever job suited her: teacher, social worker, lawyer, business owner. She created memories for my sisters and me while teaching us the value of hard work and volunteering. I spent my high school years building houses for Habitat for Humanity and serving meals to those less fortunate. After my mother had died, I learned about all the things she did for my friends who were less fortunate. I never knew about this and probably never would have, but my high school friends reached out to me with sympathy letting me know how much they appreciated her kindness.  

I often think about how much good my mother had done in the world during her short 54 years. She was a shining example of what it meant to pay it forward. In all her months of being sick I never once heard, why me? Our conversations were always about others. Like many mothers, she put everyone else first.

Every few years, in her memory, I feel an urge to do something for others. I am a firm believer in paying it forward and try to do it as much as I can. This year, I am going to pay it forward for the entire year (June 2019-June 2020). Each month, I will send a $50 check to a teacher to use for their classroom. You might need Kleenex or pencils or papers or markers or a new game. You might go to garage sales to try to stretch it. Maybe there is something you think your students might like but would never spend your own money on because you are busy spending the money on things that your students need to be successful. Whatever it may be, I trust that you will use that money in your classroom and the things you buy will benefit your students. I trust you, because that is what my mother would have done.

My mother at 26.