Hope…is everything.

My card today is dedicated to my mom…whose birthday was October 4th. She would have been 75 years old today. Unfortunately, she died at the ripe old age of 52…younger than I am now. And it was the breast-cancer-beast that took her far too soon.

My mother was as much my friend as she was my Mom; in fact, she never considered herself a good mom to me (she was, of course), but knew that she was a good friend. She was glaringly, sometimes PAINFULLY honest with me about everything. I never had to wonder if I was going to get her real opinion on something I went to her for advice on….it was going to be the truth, no matter how much it hurt. She knew me far too well to allow me to wallow in delusion or self-pity. There are SO many, many times through the years that I’ve missed that with the awful awareness of one who had something priceless that was ripped from them.

She was a realist–that was what allowed her to be so brutally honest. But she was also a tremendous optimist. Unless you proved her wrong, she always assumed the best from everyone she knew. She never met a stranger, and she could learn more about someone in five minutes than I’d known in months of knowing them….NOT because she was nosy, but because it was obvious that she was truly interested in them. And she always tried to make the most of whatever situation life threw at her. She always believed there was hope in any situation. I miss that about her with all my heart.

Mom said her optimism/ability to find hope was the one GOOD quality to she passed on to me…she’d say that as we were laughing at how I also inherited her tendency to gain weight or other less-than-desirable traits. What Mom didn’t know was that I inherited her ‘realist’ trait, too….wherein I can see the good and bad in every situation, and usually every person….and then choose to believe in and focus on the good.  That was her true gift–her ability to choose the BEST…to choose HOPE….to choose to live with a smile every day, even when she hurt.

No, she wasn’t perfect; the realist in me won’t let me say that, mainly because I know she’d be disappointed in me if I tried to pretend she was. Just like I know she’d say “I told you so” (her favorite four words!) when I “failed” at being a Hospice volunteer a few months after Mom died. It was too soon; I have too big of a mooshy heart to be effective at dealing with someone else’s pain if I can’t “fix” the problems; I wasn’t ready….and I knew it, but had to try anyway. She’d say “I told you so”….and then she’d say she was proud of me for trying….and to wait and do something that I WAS ready for….and that my mooshy heart would find to be a good fit.

I have, I think. Thanks to a wonderful friend (that Mom knew and loved, too), I’ve been involved in my area American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for several years now. Each year, we work hard to raise money that goes for research, education, and to help folks in my area who are dealing with cancer (all kinds). It’s a cause I believe in, especially since I’m also a cancer survivor. I was “luckier” than Mom; mine (which wasn’t breast cancer) was found in the extremely early stages, and I’ve been cancer-free for 16 years now. I never once believed I wouldn’t be okay–I never gave up hope. Because I learned that from my Mom.

Happy birthday, Momma. Hope IS everything. And I’m working hard to share it with a lot of people now. I know you’d be proud.

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today. And, should you want to get involved with YOUR area Relay for Life, check out this link here.  –Terri

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