Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Three Years Ago Today

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac

Three years ago today I did one of the hardest things I have ever done. I said Goodbye to my Mother for the last time. I sat next to her bed holding her right hand while my Father sat on the other side of her bed holding her left hand. We told her how much we loved her and that it was okay to go and be at peace finally after so many years of pain and sickness. For the last six months of her life she had been on life support. We didn't know if she knew we were there during that time or not, but as I sat there holding her hand I knew she felt me there. I never cried more than I did that day when I knew she would leave this world forever. The hardest thing I ever did was sign my name, giving permission to take her off life support. I watched my father lose his wife, whom he so dearly loved as he faced his own mortality with cancer raging through his body.

My Mother was and still is one of the strongest people I have ever known. She was diagnosed with Chron's Disease when she was in her early twenties. At the time, there was no known treatment for this extremely debilitating disease, other than powerful pain medication. My Mom though never let it control her life. She showed and raised some of the best Bichon Frises in the country. She had the number seven dog in the country; Ch. Kingston's Stormin' Norman. Bred, owned and handled by her. No small feat in the highly competitive dog show world. Her dogs were her reason to get up in the morning, her reason to not let her health tear her down.

My Mother was one of those people who, when she entered a room, everybody stopped and looked. She might have been small in build, but she had a commanding presence about her. She made people quake in their shoes if she felt they were not treating someone or something fairly. She was very involved with local politics and fought always for the little guy. She was respected and revered.

Growing up, my Mom was my biggest cheerleader and my harshest critic. She held me as I sobbed uncontrollably when I lost my first horse, Borr. She held me again when my heart was broken the first time. She was at every Swim meet, Cross Country and Track meet and Softball game I ever participated in since I was 8 years old till even after I had graduated High School. She encouraged my horse endeavors, but from a distance. She was there for my highs and my lows, and even though we did not always see eye to eye, she loved me no matter what, unconditionally. I wonder now as I run my own children to their after school sports activities , how on Earth she ever did it, along with running her own business, keeping a home and being a wife, on top of her illnesses. I wish she were here to tell me, to let me in on the secret.

She was firm with me when I struggled through months and months of rehab when I was 12, after falling from a ladder and basically crushing my whole right side of my body. She kept her face right to mine and said "You will do it!" "Can't is not in my vocabulary!" as I begged and pleaded with my therapist and her that I couldn't take one more step. She never let me quit. She is why I can walk today. When none of the doctors thought I would ever walk, she knew I would. She believed in me when no one else did. The following year I proved all the doctors wrong and went out for the Cross Country Team and within two years I was in league with some of the top runners in the state, all because of my Mom. She pushed me to achieve, to be better than I thought I could be. When I was 15 and diagnosed with Jr. RA, she refused to let the doctors tell me I had to give up my horses and sports. She knew that my love, my passion would keep me going. Through her I learned to push through it.

When I married my husband, she took him in like a son, even at times siding with him over me. She loved him more than I think he will ever realize, because he loved me and that was all Mom wanted to be assured of, that I was loved and cherished. Jeff has succeeded tenfold in assuring my Mother of that.

When Zared and Morgan were born, you never met a happier Grandmother. She spoiled them rotten. They learned quickly if Mom and Dad wouldn't let them have something, Grandma would. They have precious memories of her. I knew she wanted to be here longer for them, to be able to experience life with them, but I know she is happy watching them from above and giving us the air smack upside our heads that we sometimes need.

Since my Mother's passing I have had moments when I know she is right there with me. Sometimes words come out of my mouth that were her words, not mine, and people, especially my family will look at me with bewilderment, and I reply to those looks with; "It was a Barb moment." I swore as a kid I would never be my mother, now there are days I cannot think of anyone better to be. Sorry Jeff. Deal with it. :0

I love you Mom and I miss you terribly.

Barbara A. Stamoolis
June 9th, 1944 – January 27, 2006

To Those I Love

If I should ever leave you,
Whom I love
To go along the silent way. . .
Grieve not.
Nor speak of me with tears.
But laugh and talk of me
As if I were beside you there.

(I'd come . . . I'd come,
Could I but find a way!
But would not tears and
grief be barriers?)

And when you hear a song
Or see a bird I loved,
Please do not let the thought of me
Be sad. . .for I am loving you
Just as I always have. . .

You were so good to me!
There are so many things
I wanted still to do. . .
So many things I wanted to say
to you. . . Remember that
I did not fear. . . It was
Just leaving you
That was so hard to face.

We cannot see beyond. . .
But this I know:
I loved you so. . .
'twas heaven here with you

by Isla Paschal Richardson.


Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind said...

Oh my... I cant catch my breath I am crying so hard. What a beautiful tribute! Thank you so much for sharing as it reminded me how thankful I am to have an amazing mother still in my life. I am sure your Mother thought she was lucky to have such a loving daughter. Bless you.

A Bay Horse said...

It may be to your husband's chagrin, but I'm sure where ever your mom is, she's proud of the moments when you live by her example. Thanks for sharing your reflections. Reminds me of how lucky I am to have my mother - which some times, I do need reminding of! ;)

I left you an award on my blog. Feel free to pick it up whenever you want. :)

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Thanks for sharing, you mother sounds like a wonderful woman. I also lost my mother who left a huge void in my life. They are with us in spirit, watching over us, and smiling.

Sketch said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard losing a parent no matter what our age -I lost my mother in March of last year.

Grey Horse Matters said...

A wonderful tribute to a special woman. I'm sure she is proud of you and with you wherever you go.
I do know how you feel, I too lost my mom and best friend a few years ago and still miss her terribly. We'll get through it because we have no other choice, but it's not easy.

Matt said...

What an absolutely wonderful tribute to your mother. Don't you know she is just beaming aver this!! I know how it is to lose a parent (my father, three years ago in March) and it very difficult on everyone.

Your mother sounds so much like my own, you must be so very proud of her, as she was of you.

SkyBar Farm said...

Thank you all for the extremely kind and sympathetic comments. This was the best way I could honor her memory. I hope I did her justice. She was an absolutely amazing woman. Those who still have your Mom's hug them a little tighter and let them know how important they are.