Sunday, April 18, 2010

Someone Special

Please bear with me on this post, as I struggle to tell you few things about someone very special.   

Born in the mountains of Western North Carolina, on December 21st, 1921, she didn't have an idyllic childhood.  Dragged back and forth, from her home to her grandparents, when the domestic battles were raging.  She was the sensitive one, unsure of herself.  Her younger brother, the fairer of hair and skin, was the apple of his mothers' eye.



Walking home from school one day, she was eight, he was six, when he bounced ahead, eager to show his report card to his mother, who was confined to bed, deathly ill.  That's when it happened.  A logging truck struck and killed him... right in front of her.  Her only sibling, gone.

From her bed, the mother has a "premonition" and stumbles out the door, running toward her son, somewhere in the distance.  She passes out before the confirmation has a chance to reach her.  The mother knows.  After her brothers' death, it was suggested her mother be institutionalized.  The son appeared to his mother and said, "Momma, I'm alright, I'm happy."  The mother recovered, but the little girl was very traumatized.  She refused to go back to the same school.  Couldn't bear to walk the same route that held the unbearable memories of her tragic loss.

She lost her grandfather, cut in half by a train. 

She had a nervous breakdown.

She survived Scarlet fever and a ruptured appendix, when medical care was much less advanced.

An early beau, flew his plane over her home, dropped out a few belongings, before crashing and killing himself.

Then came the lifeline... she went to work at the Paper Mill, where she also experienced her first indoor toilet.  Work helped her find purpose in her life.

She got married and relocated, to work for the Paper Mill in Texas.  After arriving and getting the required physical and chest x-ray, which led to more testing, she was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease.  She was given 6 weeks to live.  She underwent treatment and survived.

She was told she would never be able to have children.  It took seven years before she had her first and another 5 plus, before she had her second.

In 1972, after enduring a series of falls and being treated for an inner ear infection, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a small grapefruit, between her left and right lobe.  She took a 6 month medical leave to undergo surgery, not knowing what to expect after.  Would she speak, walk, be able to see, have any memories, or even partial memories?  The odds were against her being without some type of disability, due to the massive size.  She endured 10+ hours of surgery, where she had holes drilled in her skull and was cut from ear to ear across the top of her head, for a section of skull to be removed to access the tumor.  She did a brief stint with physical therapy while still in the hospital, was released and back to work a month later, stark bald, refusing to wear a wig because she said it was itchy and uncomfortable.

She retired after 40 years working for the Paper Mill, only to begin her golden years with more health issues.  Several years of medication for what they diagnosed as Parkinson's disease, was later diagnosed as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. 

She lost her ability to read, which she loved with a passion.  Later, she lost the ability to walk without help.  This very modest woman had to depend on someone to help her go to the bathroom.  Eventually, even a trip to the bathroom was out of the question and she was reduced to wearing diapers.  She could no longer eat without choking, she could barely speak and was hard to understand.  She couldn't scratch an itch or move on her own.  Body contorted, one leg and one arm drawn up, fingernails digging into her palms. 

She had a permanent feeding tube inserted in her stomach for nutrition, without anesthesia. 

When she left the hospital the last time, she came to live with me, as her husband was dying of cancer.  Never, to my knowledge, did my Mother ever say "why me?"  She had a terrific sense of humor and could even muster a demonic sounding laugh during what I would have considered "major" indignities. 

She was brave beyond belief. 

She passed away on April 18th, 1997. 

Mom, I love you and miss you!


 

48 comments:

Deborah said...

Your momma was amazing Ms. A. I'll be thinking about you on this day.

TechnoBabe said...

Wow. I admire your mother's spirit of survival so much I can't even put proper words to it. This is a wonderful tribute to your mother. And her picture is beautiful. This is a wonderful post.

Bossy Betty said...

A beautiful tribute to a strong woman. What a life and yet she maintained her sense of humor even through her adversities, Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Ashley King said...

ahhhh! i'm crying over here.
i knew it was some relative of yours....
how difficult it must be....
the first thing that came to my head after reading this, was Taking time for you thursday....
you found all the right words and put them all down and they all made sense....
very good sense....
relayed the feelings perfectly!
i am SO sorry for your loss,
and so thankful you shared.
i hope your heart has found a bit of peace after this all....

Michelle Pixie said...

What an amazing, inspiration your mother is. Beautiful! I am in awe of your writing and the tribute you gave her. She was absolutely stunning! Love & Hugs to you today.

Rebekah said...

It's amazing to me what a woman can endure. And your mother was more than a survivor. She must have been an incredibly strong woman! Thank you for sharing her with us.

Momma Fargo said...

Wow, what an amazing woman. She endured everything in life thrown at her like a soldier only braver. Thank you so much for sharing this story. Hugs and love to you.

Bendigo said...

What a tremendous woman....Thank you for sharing a most incredible person with us.

I don't think your mom could be called anything other than Inspirational. With a hero like that you couldn't go wrong...

KrippledWarrior said...

Oh Darlin' you're breaking my heart. A Great tribute to your Mom.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks so much for sharing this heartbreaking and inspirational story with us. How much can one person endure during a lifetime? An amazing woman, your mother. And so are you...

Copyboy said...

Incredible woman your mother was. I agree with Pat. So honored that you decided to share your mom's rich life with us.

Ally said...

Your mom was such a strong lady. Wow, that was so good of you to let us into your world like that. I feel so sad for you though, I dread the day I have to say goodbye to my best friend, Mom :( I used to wish I'd pass before her somehow. Yes, I'm that selfish. The idea of living without my mom is so painful.

FourthGradeNothing.com

DrSoosie said...

It always amazes me that the people with the most adversity seem to go through life with the most optimism and hope. I am sure your mother must have had an abundance of both in order to endure the hardships she did. On the other hand, she made a wonderful family and left a legacy to be remembered by those who loved he so...you!

In memory of your mom...God bless her soul!

Susie

The Urban Cowboy said...

What an incredible story of an amazing woman. God bless you and yours.

Marla said...

That is an amazing life. Thank you for sharing this, friend.

Ms. Anthropy said...

TechnoBabe, She was and is truly an inspiration.

Rebekah, she was one of the strongest women I've ever known.

KW, I wanted it to be much more personal, but the emotions were just too strong.

Urban Cowboy, Thank you and thanks for dropping in.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Oh honey. It's beyond amazing how much she survived and kept surviving until the end. Your story is beautifully told. May your mom's memory always be a blessing.
A huge hug to you!
Robyn

Ms. Anthropy said...

Robyn, Thanks, I'd like to have an ounce of the strength that woman had.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Oh my lord, what a life she had. Such a strong woman. I agree with the others in that she is a true inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a powerful post, what a strong woman. Thanks for sharing her story with us. You come from strong (and beautiful!) stock.

Karen (This Old House)

Ms. Anthropy said...

Karen, why are you anonymous? Are you without provider? About the stock... genes... that's a whole post, in itself. Suffice it to say, it's a wonder my family doesn't have tails! Take care, woman. Hope you are unanonymous, soon!

Jimmy said...

Thank You Ms A,

Your Mom sounds like she was the type to make a stumbling block a stepping stone, hardships can either make or break a person and I don't see that anything could break her.

Excellent post I know your Mom is proud.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Jimmy, Thank you. Yes, she definitely made stepping stones, for her torturous path.

VKT said...

Dear Ms. A,

I was so touched by this post. What a lovely strong woman your Mom was! Her endurance, strength, and positive attitude in spite of her circumstances, is a tribute to her character. I am sure she is smiling down at this tribute you wrote from heaven!

Kristy said...

Holy cannoli! She endured a lot, your mother. What an amazing woman.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Kristy, She endured SO much... I was only able to touch on part of it.

Jenny said...

Oh, I am in tears here. What a loving and lovely memorial for an amazing, strong and courageous woman.

Thank you for sharing this.

Sending you hugs and a prayer of sympathy and friendship.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Thank you, Jenny!

MamaTink said...

Thanks so much fir sharing her story!

BK said...

Ms. Anthropy, thank you for sharing this story of your mother with us. She is truly an inspiration! And most people, including me, thought we have troubles; they should be reading this too.

Ms. Anthropy said...

BK, Thank you so much for the kindness.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Susan and Neil, Thank you for the sweet comment, that wouldn't come through on here. Not sure what's up with that.

gregj said...

Your Mother is a saint. I mean for real in heaven. Such courage. What an inspiration.
Thank you for sharing.

Ms. Anthropy said...

GregJ, Hey... you're back! Thanks for stopping in.

Jen said...

Makes all my everyday problems seem pretty small. Thanks for the reminder and what luck you had to have her as a mother.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Thank you, Jen. I never really understood how lucky I was, when I was younger. Just knew my Mom worked, when other mothers didn't and that she was not as active and healthy as the other mothers. So much of her life wasn't spoken about, until I was well into adulthood. Certainly humbled me, toward her and at the same time, made me feel a bit guilty for some of the grief I gave her, when I was growing up.

Tgoette said...

Wow, your mom was one tough broad! I can't imagine enduring all the pain and hardships she did and still maintaining a sense of humor let alone the strength to continue. Bravo to her and to you for a very thoughtful and inspiring piece!

Ms. Anthropy said...

Tgoette, I can't imagine it either. (I didn't inherit her toughness)

Neil and Susan Brown said...

Thank you Ms. Anthropy... your blogs are always inspiring!

Ms. Anthropy said...

Susan & Neil, Thank you!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

First time here. I found you through your comment on another blog.
That is such an inspirational post!
Your blog is fantastic and I love your blog title too.
Wishing you a lovely Sunday!
Betty

Ms. Anthropy said...

Betty M, Thank you and thanks for stopping by. You actually dropped in once before, by accident, ha ha ... feel free to drop in, anytime, accidentally, or on purpose.

Tracie said...

What a life your wonderful mother led! This was a wonderful tribute to her. So sorry for your loss. Even though she has been gone for years I'm sure your heart still longs for her.
xoxo

Artist said...

What a touching life story!

Ms. Anthropy said...

Thanks, Traci... I miss her terribly.

Artist, thanks for stopping in. Are you the artist in the video? If you have a blog, I'd be interested in checking it out. Let me know.

Andrea said...

No words are good enough to say what an inspiring woman this must have been. Thank you for sharing such a huge piece of life with us. What a lady.

Jill said...

CB, I am awed by your Mother's life and by YOUR writing! Love the pic of her... a beautiful, tough woman. Thank you for telling her story. Love ya, jilly

Ms. Anthropy said...

Thanks, Jill.