Many of you will be familiar with the story of my mum. I wrote about her in The Longest Goodbye and she was also the focus for my Daily Post Admiration theme. When Niki asked who inspired us, in week six of the kindness challenge, I couldn’t think of anyone to put above her.
Mum has always been inspiring and brave. She emigrated to Australia back in 1953 to start a new life with my father, and I know the early years were not easy, but they carved out a good life. And a happy one.
When mum went into hospital for brain surgery 15 months ago she remained the same as she’s always been, hopeful and optimistic.
But there are no guarantees in life.
When she came out of the operation and in the following weeks of rehab, ups and downs and then more surgery, not once did I hear her complain. She never gave up hope that she would go back to her beloved home again. Neither did we, but sadly it was not to be.
Today, as mum lives out her days in a care facility she’s fading before my eyes. And I often wonder why she’s had to endure this. Why she’s had to suffer so much. What lessons are there for me. I question so much. And I feel different from the person I was a year ago.
I know that since mum’s illness my writing has changed. Where once I wrote my travel articles purely for publication in Australian magazines my writing has morphed into something new. When mum was well she often said to me “why don’t you write about something other than your trips?” Well mum, now I do.
So, a while ago I read her The Longest Goodbye and my post on Admiration. I read it slowly and I know she took it in. I could see it in her eyes and the way she looked at me. The way she nodded every time I finished a paragraph and asked her, “do you understand?”
I wanted her to know that my writing had evolved, that she was the reason for it, that she was still inspiring me.
She may not have a voice today but somehow I feel as though she’s helped me find mine.
I’m on my own inner journey of acceptance and finding purpose in my life. I cry a lot. I find joy when I can, with my family, at home and out camping because I know mum would want me to be happy. But the heaviness in my heart is a weight that never leaves me.
Mum has inspired me all my life, by being a strong yet gentle, loving yet fiercely independent and generous woman. Even today she continues to inspire me.
So last week, just as she lived selflessly and by being kind to others, I tried to follow in her footsteps. I babysat my neighbor’s two young boys, I tried to be more patient with my own teenagers, I bit my tongue and held back my frustration when I didn’t get the help I needed at home. It’s not always easy but I find joy when I can. The journey continues.
Next Thursday, mum will turn 88. I’ll bake a cake and take it in, if the weather is nice I’ll take her to the park. I’ll kiss her and show her the kindness she showed me my entire life. And I’ll try and be half the role model to my own kids that she always was to me.
May you all be kind and loving to those around you. Cherish the ones you love, give them a hug and never forget to tell them how much they mean to you. We only have one chance at life so let’s appreciate it and make the most of very single precious moment.
Wishing you all a peaceful and kind week ahead.
This is in response to Week 6 – Kindness Challenge – Kind Inspiration