It was 5 years ago today that my mother passed away from an aggressive brain tumor at age 69. I had less than two months to spend with her from the time of diagnosis, to the day of her passing. In fact, I only had one week between her diagnosis and her first brain tumor surgery where the neurologist tried to remove as much as he could of the tumor. After that surgery, due to swelling and bleeding, she was very weak and never recovered her strength. We have no control over the amount of time we have with a sick loved one.
What would I say to her if I could go back and have just one more week with her?
I so appreciate all of the world that you exposed me to. All of the camping, museums, trips both foreign and domestic have broadened my horizons. I never said thank you to you for all your hard work in planning these outings. But, I do thank you. All I learned about native peoples through visits to Chaco, Mesa Verde, and the Santa Monica Mountains has given me an organic understanding of other’s realities in a way all those carefully constructed textbooks could never do. Exposure to how differently tribes have lived has made me aware that people groups are different. Culture is real.
Also, I appreciate that you did not try and control me or micromanage me. You gave me a lot of space to spend my summer in my room, working on creative enterprises such as museum making, jewelery store pop-up, and classroom teaching. I had a secret empire going. I am not sure if you were aware of this. You did not come in though and judge or laugh at it. From these secret worlds I learned I was capable of laying plans to change the world.
Finally Mom, I appreciate that you helped me to learn my craft well. You found ways through classes, schools, camps, and further resources such as entering art shows to challenge me to go above and beyond, and to improve my artistic skill. You fundamentally encouraged me to focus my efforts and get good at something.
I wish I could tell you all these things. I am grateful that I had your presence in my life, because I feel so free; and it’s that freedom that came from your wonder and enchantment with the world. It is my goal to honor you by making them a part of what I tell my kids about too. I know that you were not perfect, and I am not perfect, but because of what remains after your passing, I know much can be accomplished through imperfect vessels; especially vessels that pour into others. I love you Mom.
Mothers—know you play a gigantic role in your children’s lives. If you choose to homeschool, you have taken a double portion. Your children will remember those things you loved as you taught them.