Wednesday, January 16, 2008

People We Admire

I am sure that we all have people who we admire in our lives. I am not talking about the current super athlete or the "to die for" latest Hollywood celebrity. There are those in our lives who earn our respect by their positive, can-do attitude, their generosity of their time and their strong faith in the darkest times. They are the image that we seek as we live our day to day lives.

There is one person in particular who makes me so appreciative to have her in my life -- my MOM. Today is a day that always reminds me of what a special person she is. It is the twelfth anniversary of the day she became a paraplegic.

My father had died just three months prior to this day and she had spent several years caring for him after his stroke. Always a very active person, my mother's life was put "on hold" for awhile while she easily slipped into the role of caregiver. We all realized that this would be time that would be difficult but had many rewards.

Shortly after my father's death my mother's time was filled with returning to her walking three miles a day with her friends, traveling and remodeling her kitchen. At the age of 73 she was very active.

She had been painting the inside of her cupboards to lighten up the interior for the new doors that were to be a light colored wood. The phone call came at 5:30 in the morning that she had "a real problem." She was unable to get out of bed after a night with a severe backache. Being a nurse, my first thought was that she had possibly ruptured a disc from all the strange body positions (contortions) while painting the cupboards.

I jumped into my car and drove the half hour to her home to see what was going on. Knowing that we had to get her to the hospital, I wanted to call an ambulance. Ever my mother, she did not want the neighbors to "see" her being taken away in an ambulance. I lifted her and carried her to the car and we proceeded on our way while she continued to apologize for making me come up so early.

It was three days and many tests later that the doctor came in to let her know that, although they did not know just what it was, she would not walk again. From that very moment there was never a "Why me?" attitude, but rather, "Let's get to the rehab hospital and move on."

She was transferred the next day and started the hardest work of her life. She was adamant that she would continue to live on her own and knew she had a lot to learn. For three months she was found cheering up other patients in the rehab -- teaching them to cook and lining up bridge games. This was in between her very scheduled days. And, yes, she did go home to her own home.

It was during this period and more testing that she was finally diagnosed with acute transverse myelitis, a disease that was foreign to me and many others. It apparently strikes one in 1.3 million people. Again, as only my mother could, she announced that she had always known that she was "one in a million."

She did move closer to my sister and myself about six years ago. She still continues, at 85 years of age, to live on her own with minimum help for cleaning and showering. There have been surgeries, health issues and many adjustments along the way but she continues to challenge each one of them with grace. Her network of friends has always been fabulous. She draws people to her with her wonderful attitude, concern about everyone else and her generosity. As she always says, "My life hasn't really changed THAT much; I'm just shorter."

What an inspiration she has been to all of us.

This photo was taken at our daughter's wedding in August.....pretty lady, isn't she?


  1. What a wonderful tribute to your very special Mum! She is absolutely beautiful! She is a complete inspiration, and just exactly what I needed to read right now. Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. What an absolute lovely tribute to your Mom!!!!! It made me almost cry to read about her determination under such hard circumstances, and to have such a wonderful attitude! She is very pretty and looks like she just jumped out of the top drawer as I am sure she always does! Thank you so much for writing this. I knew she was in a wheelchair but didn't know why and it's nice to know the whole story!

    Buddy is on pain medication for three days and then we will wait three days to see how he is doing. I am waiting for a call from Jean the lady that owns the stable and I am going to have her check for heat in his feet and his pulse. He should not have an elevated pulse rate in his feet that is not good. I am not freaking out yet over this, it may just be the frozen ground that is making him sore. R and I are going to go get him some rubber boots on Saturday that we can put on his front hooves and that should help. If he continues to be sore I will take him in to see the doc next week. I hope we get this all straightened out before Ocean Reef as I don't know what I would do.

    We're expecting more snow tomorrow but I don't think as much as we had a few days ago. It may change over to freezing rain too. We're hoping to get some snowmobiling in this weekend.

    Guess that's it. I need to get some housework done. This morning was busy and I didn't get home till noon time.

    Oh I found the snowman and santa grids in Keep*sake Qui*lting and ordered it yesterday. I'm sure I will have questions for you!!

    Take care! xoxo

  3. You're lucky to have such a great mom!

  4. She's a beautiful lady and you look just like her! What a determined lady!