Growing up I couldn't appreciate my mother and the sacrifices she made. I didn't understand the vast accomplishments she achieved and the strength she possessed. I couldn't see how she was molding me to follow in her footsteps and those of other powerful, strong, independent women that came before us. I couldn't see how all she wanted was for me to grasp the opportunities the other woman worked so hard to give to me. My mother is the epitome of strength and courage. I didn't appreciate the effort and energy she put into being a mother until I was a mother and she was almost gone.
There are so many times throughout the day I reach for the phone to call her, only to stop and realize that I can't. All the questions mothers have, all the accomplishments and baby brags, all the venting and advice falls on ears in Heaven. The days that hurt the most are the days I know she would be overjoyed to be present. The days her grandson's were birthed, the days her granddaughters started Kindergarten. The days her children graduated.
At the end of everyday I wonder if I did something that I would be proud to share with my mother, and that she is proud of looking down on me. I live for so many people. I live for my children and my husband. I live for my work and my involvement in cancer awareness and advocacy. But I also live in a constant state of striving to make my mother proud. It's infinite because she isn't here to tell me anymore, so I keep working each day to be a strong and powerful woman like she was.
Like all music there is a multitude of meanings. This particular song always makes me think of my mother and the emotions I feel now that she is not longer with us. There is a line in this song that states, "I held your hand through all of these years, but you still have all of me." I feel like even though I was the caregiver, I was supposed to be the strong one, the one that held her up for all those years that she was sick, in reality, she was holding me up, and still does.
This world is will never reach the potential it could without my mother in it. It can't reach the potential it could without all souls lost to cancer and other premature death. I will not stop fighting until I know that the people I love are safe from, at the very least, cancer.
Joanne Mehos Elliott 11/29/50-3/1/09