Sunday, February 8, 2009

In Remembrance

Good morning Babe,

I hope that everything is still going well in there and that you are getting everything that you need. I'm doing my best to eat a variety of foods, fruits and vegetables but I seem to be acquiring more food aversions everyday. Red meat is basically out and chicken is precarious. If I don't overthink it, I can eat it. I basically have to clutch my stomach, hold my nose and run past the meat section when in the grocery store. I then, literally, have an internal battle about whether or not I should buy the large box of Twinkies that I'm holding onto like a lifeline. I haven't purchased them... yet ... but my willpower is quickly running out. You seem to be taking after your mom and loving carbohydrates and sweets.

I have stated that I am going to be 'good' up until July at which time I will begin rolling into work in a mumuu holding two extra-large McDonald milkshakes and a jumbo box of Junior Mints ... for breakfast. I was in the Bargain Shop yesterday and they were actually selling mumuu's - so I can be both comfortable and still support the local economy. The mumuu's had cats and daisy's on them ... random imagery, but at that stage I don't think people are assessing fashion sense. Needless to say, there will be zero pictures of me in the last month of my pregnancy.


I have been struggling about when to introduce you to your Gram, my mum. Up until this point my posts have been happy and upbeat, inline with my perpetually sunny disposition. (I actually laughed out loud when I typed that ... but for the most part I am pretty much an optimist). I don't want people to feel sorry for me, nor do I want people to feel that they are constantly revisiting my hurts when they have so many of their own. Quite frankly, I don't like to bring a party down. But my mum was so incredibly special and such a wonderful mother that I want to share her with you, and I will - everyday of your life.

In sharing stories and memories, I go through a range of emotions; I can laugh and cry through the course of one story. Losing my mom has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through and though 15 months have passed, I still cry most days. I don't tell this to many people as I don't want anyone to worry - I am certainly not wailing or refusing to get out of bed and my day to day life is not affected by these episodes - but something will come to mind, I will find a piece of my mum's clothing or hear a song that she loved and I will get choked up. How has pregnancy affected this? Well, hormones compound emotions - I get REALLY happy, REALLY sad, REALLY angry and REALLY annoyed very quickly (just ask your dad :), but these extreme emotions are fleeting and I even out eventually. I wish I had asked my mum more questions about her pregnancies - did she get sick with us? did she have cravings/aversions? when did she feel us moving? - but at the time you were not on the forefront so I never thought to ask.

It breaks my heart that my mum won't be able to meet you in person, but I have a sneeking suspicion that you will carry with you a lot of her traits - and this is a phenomenal thing! I'm not the first woman to raise a child without her mom present and I certainly won't be the last. I am just incredibly lucky to have the support system and friends that I have.

So here is the introduction to your Gram (though by the time you will be able to read this, you will have heard these stories a thousand times):


On a sympathy card I received after the sudden passing of my 58 year old mum the sender had written ‘You are your mother’s legacy.’ These five words really struck a chord with me and since receiving that card, I have been reflecting on those words. By definition the word legacy means “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” Therefore, what does it mean to be my mother’s legacy? Am I even worthy to be her legacy??

My mother walked 5 miles a day. Walking with my mum was like walking with a local celebrity. Horns were honked and arms appeared, waving frantically out car windows at her. People came out of their homes and shouted across ‘Hi Moe!’ Strangers received a kind word and smile. Everyone who met my mum on her daily walks left smiling, remembering the thick Scottish accent, quick wit, twinkling eyes and ‘throw your head back laugh’ that my mum offered. In these moments of quick conversation, it was amazing what people would share with my mum, even exclaiming ‘I don’t know why I am telling you this!’ This was a testament to her wonderful personality. People were comfortable with her and knew that she was a compassionate confidante.

My mother’s self-proclaimed ‘great days’ were not ones in which she received recognition or money or weighed less than a previous day. Her favourite days were those on which she spoke to all three of her children. Some days I would call and my mum who would happily announce, ‘I have spoken to your brother and sister today too – this is a great day!!’ My mother was our number one fan and she couldn’t have been prouder of us. My brother studied Hellenic Studies (all things Greek), I took Political Science and French and my sister went to college to become a Health Care Aide in a nursing home. These were a far cry from my parent’s vocations but they did not question our choices and instead revelled in them, talking about us to all who would listen.

My mother so loved children that when I was 13 we became a foster family, taking in many children that had been abused and/or neglected. There were times I would wake up in the morning with a new 'brother' or 'sister' that had been taken from their home overnight. We've fostered children of every ethnicity and faith. With the children, my mum was a loving and fun mother, offering stability and hope. Alone, she wept her heart out for the horrible abuses that many of these children suffered. Even upon my parent’s separation, my mum continued to foster our long-time special needs child Ashley. The year before my mum passed, Ashley went to a permanent home but visited often.

My mother’s faith was very important to her. Each morning she would sit in her sunroom, light a candle and say prayers and novenas for her family and friends. When my mother said ‘I will say some prayers for you,’ she meant it. My mum had a Saint for every condition, ailment and life-changing event and she carried medals and prayer cards with her wherever she went. My mother never pushed her faith on others but even non-believers and non-Catholics who shared their trials with my mum accepted the medals and prayers gratefully and with excitement. It is easy to be inspired and have hope when the messenger is glowing with the happiness and contentment that they receive from their faith.

My mother was an incredible woman and wonderful mother. I could regale you with thousands of stories but won't, she would have been embarassed with all of the attention. I am lucky to have had my mum in my life, even if it was too short a while. If I am, indeed, my mom's legacy then I have a lot of work to do to becoming a more forgiving, compassionate and overall better person.

Love you baby - talk to you soon,

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