I always knew I loved my parents. Not because I had to or was told to, but because I just did. I did for the things they gave me, the way they cared for me, they way they sacrificed for me, and as I grew up, I did for the way they taught me. As a child, you don’t always appreciate your parents the way you should. As you grow up, you slowly begin to see all they’ve sacrificed for you and all they gave you.
Everything changed in the spring of 1996, when Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was given six months to live. Dad beat it for quite some time though and lived for another 3 ½ years. The night he passed, our family gathered round his hospital bed, my mom hanging onto his hand, not willing to let go.
Now almost nine years later, as I watch my mom go on with her life, I see the strength within her. The strength I always knew was there, though I had never witnessed it, not in this caliber. Having lost my older brother when he was just 15, I do realize that my mom has endured more pain and loss in her lifetime than any person should.
My mom was there for me when I was a little girl to brush away the tears from a scraped knee or elbow. My mom was there to guide me through my teenage years even when I insisted she would not understand. My mom was there to help brush the tears away when a boy had broken my heart and made me cry. My mom has always been there for me, even while dealing with her own pain. I would have gladly been there for her to lean on, but my mom never seemed to ‘need’ me like I needed her when I was growing up.
My mother is a strong woman. Sometimes I cannot conceive of where she finds the strength within her; how she moves on, still seeming to only care about others and their needs rather than her own. My mother is a strong, determined and courageous woman. I can only hope that she passed on to me her strength and that I can be that strong should I face the same circumstances she has endured. It has been such a gift to see that strength. What I know for sure is that my mom has a kind of strength within her that few will ever realize or even see. It is a gift from a loving mother to her forever-grateful daughter.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.