My Mother

Today is  Mothers Day in the USA. This is the day we celebrate our love for our mothers. Whether you are a mum, a bonus (step) mom, a mom to your pets. Whether your mum is alive and well, or perhaps you have now become her caretaker. Or like me, maybe your mother is in your heart as she is no longer with you. The lessons we learn and the love we receive is celebrated on this day. 

My mother was a warrior. Growing up she worked tirelessly to keep a roof over our head. My father was a salesman. While he was very charming and successful, he was also an alcoholic. 

The day finally came when he lost his driver’s license to drunk driving and he was no longer able to provide for us. Mum took over.

Gwenda (mum) sold home insurance, was an Avon lady and also washed dishes at the local sailing club. In addition to paying all the bills and debts in front of her, each Friday you could find her putting any money left over into a jar. Slowly saving a little for herself and her girls,

As I grew older and moved away, Mum would come to visit me. She loved to travel and during my brilliant time with Reebok, she would often come over to Europe and the United States to watch me present. She quickly grew to be a crowd favorite and my friends would always ask if “mum” was going to be at the event.

My mum LOVED to dance. One of my favorite memories was at a press event for the release of my VHS workout tape called Sweat Factory. With a packed house at a New York Disco, you could not get my mum off the dance floor. I left to go home about two hours before she did. A friend had kindly agreed to chaperone my mum back to my apartment.

Each time my Gwenda went on holiday, she would leave with a full suitcase and return with it empty. Slowly throughout the trip my mum would give away her clothes. She would bring pencils and erasers to give to the local children, and would often find a local church to donate any left items.

Simply put, my mother was remarkable.

My mum carried a lot of guilt over the years for not being the parent she wanted to be. Time and time again my sister and I would reassure her that we think we turned out pretty great. However I know her heart was heavy.

Mum passed way too early. This August, It will be ten years. In January of 2012 she was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer, and eight months later she passed away. My sister and I alternated with who was with her during those last months, and at the very end we were both with her.

About three months before her death, Mum, Jennie and I were in her hospital room when  the doctors told her that the chemotherapy was not working and that her time ahead was short.

I will never forget this moment when mum turned to the doctors and said. “While I would never have wished for this, what I have learned during this time, is that while I always knew my daughters loved me, until now, I never realized just how much.”

So today, I invite you to share just “how much” you love those around you. Don’t wait for the next Hallmark Day to share on the outside what you carry in your heart.