A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.
While Diana’s mom wouldn’t pass up a piece of pie or cake, rest assured it would be the smallest slice. This is a woman who has spent her life putting her needs after everyone else’s. Mom has never been one to grab the limelight. And though there have been tremendous challenges thrown her way over the years, she has always tackled them with a ‘no big deal’ attitude. As we watch her in the twilight of her life, with dementia and a weakening heart pulling at her physical strength, glimpses of her iron will continues to shine through.
Mom is the youngest of eight children. She is under 5 feet tall and petite, but don’t let that fool you. If she has something to say, it is guaranteed that it will be said. Honesty has always been the cornerstone upon which she has built her life. In the early 1990’s, she faced cancer head on. She lost her right leg to the disease, which also metastasized to her lungs. Given an extremely small chance at survival by Mayo Clinic, she never considered dying to be an option. Twenty-some-odd years later, she is still here. Except for the time she was recovering, she continued to cook fabulous meals for her family, all the while maneuvering through the kitchen with one leg and her walker. She can be tough as nails when need be. I remember the surprise to this son-in-law once when she firmly ‘tapped’ the back of my noggin and said “You’re nuts in the head, boy!” Whatever it was that I did, I definitely deserved it. But there is also a gentle side to this woman. A sweet pat on the hand, a reassuring calm in her voice, and a levelness in her demeanor lets everyone know that things are just the way they are supposed to be, and we should not be surprised that they are.
So to watch her navigate her way through this chapter of her life with the same grace and character she has always had, even as dementia and heart issues chip away at her, I am honored to be witness to it. She is firmly in control of the situation. Yes, if there was a pie in the oven and a room full of caregivers, she would surely take the smallest slice and then ask if they didn’t have other patients to tend to.
Yup…that’s my mother-in-law. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.