Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. The first birthday since she passed away last December.

I spend a lot of time blaming my mother – and parents in general for my musical interests and open minded philosophy.  They each gave me a lot.  But my parents divorced in a day when that was not accepted or supported.  Six children and single mom.  Everything was a struggle.  During all of the less fortunate times she managed to plug away toward her goals with her gentle influence.  We would do a lot of things other kids would not dream of and she encouraged many of them.  But we never wanted to hear her say to us she was disappointed in us…….  Having her disappointed was the worst punishment imaginable.

There is no way to know how she guided each of us through early years and then through puberty, early teens and inevitably into kids who knew it all.   I am just now putting them together piece by piece, here and there.  When my younger brother Chris got really sick I lived close and visited regularly.  I was his medical power of attorney and took care of his end of life affairs.  Radiation, Chemo, feeding tube, surgeries.  Emergency rooms to ICU to Hospice he never lost his smile and wonder.  He appreciated everything.  At the end I described him as mentally, financially, physically and emotionally exhausted.  It takes resources to fight back and he just did not have enough left at that time.

My mother also found out she had a number of cancers.  She chose not to take the normal treatments. She chose not to have the normal tests.  She chose me to help her with end of life like I did for Christopher.  She did not roll over and play dead if that is what you might be thinking.  She read and stayed up on current events. She exercised and researched better foods and diet.  She got out and enjoyed the change of each season and the change in weather.

Pauline was more interested in making us comfortable and taking care of her extended family than she was in complaining or moping.  She controlled her pain and as it got really bad she wanted to be able to have final word; to be able to think and communicate for fear she would have a stroke or complication and not be able to tell them not to resuscitate her.  She feared being a vegetable more than anything.  She was smart and educated and proud.  That was something she did not want to endure.  She did not.

When I grow up, I want to be just like her.  Birthdays don’t mean much to me – ask my kids – but this one did.  Happy Birthday, mom.

Comments
  1. What a lovely post. It sounds like your life has been immeasurably enriched by sharing it with your mom and your brother.

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      I tried to tell her story without dwelling on the pain at the end because she was so much more alive than the last few months. To this day I am still learning things she did then that I can only appreciate now. And my brother was so cool, and funny. Thank you for letting me share this with you and for your wonderful reply.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. tmezpoetry says:

    My thoughts are with you. This is a lovely tribute to your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. David Kennedy says:

    She is mourned, and celebrated.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Susan Scott says:

    Happy birthday to your Mom Mike. A lovely tribute to her and your brother.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. clearings says:

    Who am I to say, but for what it’s worth as an outsider, it seems like she helped you all get your balances right. Quite a complete person. Moving tribute Mike.

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      That is the challenge for parents; move your children in the right direction as soon as you can. After a short time there is little leverage you have against other influences. She definitely pointed us in the right direction! Thank you for your very kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ailsacawley says:

    I know exactly what you mean. My dad fought a failing body. When it was right for him he stopped fighting. It was also last December. First everything’s are flooring me. But I admire you and the bond you had with your mum. You’re in my thoughts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. cote8050 says:

    Oh my goodness, I have tears in my eyes and goose bumps. Such a wonderful tribute to the amazing mother you described. so moving … you are a good son. Michelle

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      I feel the same way every time I read the post. I almost did not post it as it is still difficult to bring back all the memories of the last few months. I need to go back further to happier times and I will be OK. As for being a good son ….. I blame that on her too!!! Thank you so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cote8050 says:

        I lost my mother many years ago and the grief is still with me, I don’t care how old you are or how old your mother was, there is nothing so sad a loosing your mom. such a special relationship can never be replaced. My heart feels for you as I have been there too. I read a quote once that I really liked, don’t know the author but it says… there will come a time when the thought of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to you eye… it is true. much love and light to you. Michelle

        Liked by 2 people

      • midimike says:

        They say time heals and it is true, but time by itself does not. It takes sharing, friends, family, and a lot of effort! Good quote and it applies to all. Thanks again, Michelle. I hope you feel better and that the grief will be replaced with better memories in the near future. Your mother would want it that way.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. That is a beautiful tribute. Happy Birthday to your Mom from me too!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. matt says:

    This is a moving tribute that I imagine was difficult to write. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • midimike says:

      Thank you, Matt. Actually it is still difficult to read. My daughter have me simple advice for the blog; be yourself. Thank you for letting me do that and sharing with others here. I appreciate your time and thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. DeniseBalog says:

    Midimike.. Your Mother is very proud of you. Although we are new at becoming friends, I would say you reflect her heart. Thank you for sharing yours, d

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sam McLean says:

    Well said, Happy Birthday, Pauline! Touching post Midimike, we are all proud of you! Your mother did well, raising such a considerate person and everyone who reads your blog knows what good man you are, a man with honour.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So sweet! It is refreshing; a man with consideration and feelings. Thank you! Happy birthday to your mom! We feel her love!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. irislifestyle says:

    She sounds like she was an Amazing woman and this was a lovely post to read thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Manpreet says:

    Lovely post! This is a true example of how to live life truly! I really respect your mum’s attitude to life! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Patrice says:

    Beautiful. Beautiful ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Tom says:

    Pauline was my adopted mom back in high school days. She ran a household of free range youngsters. She never lost her cool. I know this as one of her Facebook friends. Pauline did me a proper when her life was ebbing away. She attended the funeral of my dad–who she never knew–just to support me. That’s just one reason why I refuse to take her off my friends list.

    Liked by 1 person

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