Sunday, May 8, 2016

The bright side of celebrating Mother's Day without a mom

By: Ron Valderrama/Tragically Hip Living

My tragically hip mom in her younger days
Eighteen years, the number of years my mother has been gone but never forgotten. Eighteen years ago on Mother's Day would be the last time I would spend with her as a whole person. The next day she would have a stroke and heart attack and pass a couple weeks later. I often think of that Mother's Day, it was a great day, hanging out and going to lunch with her. My mom was deeply religious and always accepted whatever came her way, it's one of the many things I admired about her. Without a doubt she had a great life, a day doesn't go by that I don't think about her. Like everyone who has the greatest mom, my mom was the greatest because she always looked at everything in a positive way, no matter the odds stacked against her. She always beat those odds until the very end, even then, she beat the odds against her because she earned a one-way ticket to Heaven. Even when she had her stroke and heart attack, the doctors said she wouldn't make it through the night, but she did and managed to hang on a couple more weeks. She left this earth on her own terms and her own time, that was just her way. So, I reflect on her this Mother's Day and celebrate this day with her memory embedded deep in my heart. Do I miss her? You bet! But I also know she's in a better place and doesn't suffer. If you've lost your mother and feel sadness, you don't need to, her legacy now lives within you and she is still here because of you. It may seem strange, but Mother's Day isn't a sad day for me because my mother lives through me, my children and everyone who knew her. Think about this, would your mother truly want you to sit around today and be sad? I think not, she would want you to have a great day, I know for me every day is Mother's Day and my mother wouldn't want that. Instead, I reflect on what an amazing woman she was, her sense of humor, her willingness to stand behind me when no one else would, encouraging me to pursue that dream. She taught me to recognize the simple things in life, the little things that may not seem like much but are blessings. One memory I have of her is a story that I've told before, a story that we often laughed about later. My mother was a shopper, mostly a window shopper, but a shopper. One night, I had to make a run to the drug store, it was late at night and Walgreens had just started staying open late, my mom was well into her 50s. As I was picking up what I needed, I could hear two women laughing in the next aisle, I thought to myself geez, that sounds like my mom, but what would she be doing at a Walgreens this late at night? I continued to hear these two women carrying on, giggling like little school girls at a Donny Osmond concert. I finally had enough and had to see what all the commotion was about, so I walked over to the next aisle for a peek. Sure enough, it was my mom and aunt trying on hats and sunglasses, striking poses like they were supermodels doing a photo shoot at the beach. When I walked up they had a bewildered look on their faces, like they were busted for smoking or something. I said, "Mom, what the hell are you doing at Walgreens this late at night?" She laughed and fessed up and said that she and my aunt (who was spending the night) were exploring their new hobby, going to stores, reading labels on products and looking at things with no intention of buying anything. I said, "Mom! It's late at night, are you in a gang or something, did you live under a power line as a kid, what gives? How did you even get here, you and Baby (my aunt) don't even drive?" They said my uncle brought them and said he was in the magazine section, far away from them in case they were arrested. I didn't know it at the time, but this was one of the unexpected blessings she taught me about, a happy memory that will always be with me. After that, we went to Denny's for pie and coffee and just laughed at the whole thing. It's memories like this and there were many that will always live on forever, especially now since this story will be on the Internet. The point is this, think to yourself, would you rather sit around on Mother's Day and be sad because your mother is no longer here? Would you want to spend a lifetime not having the experiences shared with your mom? Or would you rather be thankful for the time, the experiences and adventures you had with her? Exactly! Sure it's sad mother's leave us, but do they really leave us? Is not a part of them living within us? The answer is yes, they are still here in a sense. So, turn that frown upside down, celebrate your mother with the memories she left behind, be thankful for the time you had, make this day a day of honoring your mother because she would want it that way. In closing, I say this....Happy Mother's Day Mom, I love you and miss you, thanks for the time you spent with me and thanks for the memories. And Mom because I have your sense of humor, and like having Geico Insurance, thanks for saving me a ton of money on Mother's Day by not having to buy flowers and take you out for dinner anymore, but if I could, I would give anything to at least do it one more time.

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