My Mom, the Warrior (2-The Battle)
(or how I’m wondering about her battle lately)
⚔️ What I’ve been doing lately? Thinking. Thinking long and hard. And yes, it did hurt at times I can tell ya. Apart from all the pandemic related stuff, which, to be honest, was more than I would’ve liked it to be, there was one thing that kept coming back to me. Or should I say, one person: my Mom. How. How did my Mom do it?
⚔️ I’ve written about my Mom a couple of times and though her passing is nearing 11 years, the older I get, the more I think about her. Trying to walk in her shoes would be impossible in my opinion, but as her daughter I can’t stop wondering about how she all managed it. I’ve said it before but my respect for her is only growing by the day. Though she worked when she was single, as soon as she became a Mom, she was just that, a full time Mom and wife, managing four kids and a pretty busy household. Then her kids got in a relationship/married and became a grandmother, adding to her sometimes crazy family. She was no bystander. How. How did she do it?
⚔️ With every new answer – or at least I assume they are – new questions are raised and my thoughts are especially focused on the time before she became ill. Our kids were in their teens by then, but she was still the center of our family. We, her kids, but also her grandkids, were her everything and she would always do her best to give us everything we needed. Going above and beyond. All of us coming together for holidays, vacations etc. she would cook, clean, take care, as only a Mom can do and that’s where my brain just kind of short circuits.
⚔️ The doctors were baffled by the fact she did not experience any pain when finally her illness was diagnosed. She should have felt Something. Now I told you – and we still believe this – God had most likely took her pain away in His mercy, but as time goes by I just have to wonder: Did she indeed feel nothing at all, like, weren’t there any signs? Nothing out of place, weird, painful? And if she did, did she just push that away because she was so used to not complain? Did she feel she simply had to hold on, push through, because she was so used to shoulder things on her own? Taking care of everybody, starting when she was a young girl and basically had to take care of her Mom and siblings? Just convinced she had to be strong all the time?
⚔️ Right, you may think I should not be driving myself crazy with questions I probably will never get the answers to. So let me assure you, this does not keep me from sleeping at night, it just makes me wonder, because I realized lately I have been comparing myself to her. How I feel about things and my response to it all. I don’t like to complain about stuff that bothers me too much, but I will talk about it at some point. Did she, ever? Could she even, coming from a generation where talking was underrated? How can I put this into words without belittling her faith, because that’s not my intention at all.
⚔️ Yes pandemic hit hard and yes, it was pretty shitty to catch covid after being fine for two years lol. But can I just say, it changed us? I mean, even if we wouldn’t have caught it, this whole period changed us and well it should. It should put things in perspective somewhat don’t you think? It should make us think, period. Going back to normal? What normal? New normal? Then it’s not going back, but kind of, starting over, no? Anyways, whether you feel changed or not, I do, we do. And if there was one thing I had plenty time of doing, it was thinking, pondering, wondering. Digging deep. Analyzing, reassessing and starting over again.
⚔️ When I say I compare myself to my Mom, I’m all too aware we are not the same, but I’m becoming more like her than I initially expected. Let me put it this way: now, whenever something – big – comes up, I tend to ask myself: What would Mom have done? How DID she do it? Never giving up, never compromising her principles, ever loving, ever forgiving? No she wasn’t perfect, but she was the best role model I could have asked for. Her attitude of gratefulness and positivity will forever be something I aim to grow into, day by day. But what if she was indeed aware something in her body was off and she chose to carry that burden alone? What if this was how her life had been always, never asking for help, never expecting personal support? Was she even aware she was so worth it all? And what does it help me to follow this train of thought?
⚔️ Communication wasn’t a real thing growing up, so how did my Mom cope? Being raised in an environment where inner thoughts were not always freely shared, I can’t escape the feeling of unease because of the mental struggles I can only suppose she must have gone through, without anybody knowing. Unless her faith was indeed so all-encompassing, it ruled out Everything else. This might very well be the case, but it still leaves me with questions, because she was without a doubt also…human. We’re living in a time where validation is a big thing, a thing my Mom probably never heard about in her lifetime. Truth be told, I think I really did not appreciate her enough, not being able to see the depths of her devotion to us, to me. Maybe that’s why I’m sharing this.
⚔️ You see, this whole pandemic has been like one huge mirror, where I couldn’t look away, but had to examine myself. With time on my hands, that was almost a new day job lol. And sure, I always try to not take myself too seriously, y’all know that and maybe getting older is not helping, because looking back becomes real easy you know. Knowing there’s definitely a reason for living, the question how to keep on improving myself will never lose its importance. So what can I learn from questioning my Mom’s life? Again, I’m not doubting her unwavering faith, because that was as real as it could get. Nope, I’m trying to figure out how I can get where she was, without losing touch with the people around me. Though there are times I feel like I’m already there, there’s still so much in front of me, so much to learn.
⚔️ I really have no idea how other people from my generation can start thinking about slowing down. Believe me I get it! Steve and I sometimes make fun of how our life should be ‘calmer’ by now haha. But honestly, it feels more like my life is getting crazier with every added year. All good, but crazy all the same. Now that I’ve been upgraded to Nana 2.0 (yes a little princess was added if you missed it!), and the following generation has been well established, I recognize even more of my Mom in myself, like she was in her last 20 years or so. It’s a lot of little things really, but they all seem to add up to something big. Like her personality was. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate my Mom and all she did for us, because I absolutely did. But looking back it’s always easier to see the truth right? Living through a lot of the same things she had, makes things so much clearer and my appreciation so much Deeper.
⚔️ Of course I’m also very aware there are a lot of people like us: becoming grandparents and being – and staying! – involved in their children’s and grandchildren’s life. Resulting in living an active life, maybe even more than the previous years. You could say we had our piece of peace in between. Time for ourselves…realizing my Mom hardly ever seemed to take time for herself. I don’t like to ‘romanticize’ her, painting her like she was the Perfect Mom, because nobody is and with how my memory often fails me, I could just be doing that. But no, while she may certainly have had her weaknesses, she was always there. I guess I’m just a tad envious of her, how she always seemed to be on top of anything related to her family. Ridiculous really, since I catch myself acting exactly the same way, more and more. The beautiful part of it? Realization only always hits afterwards.
⚔️ I am not simply Trying to be like her, on occasion it feels like I Am actually walking in her shoes. Hence the many questions that were raised in my mind. I see myself as a strong woman – as was my Mom – and I’m not afraid to say it out loud either. Being strong however, does not mean my inner self is always so perfectly balanced. Nope. I wish. But I don’t have to act on doubts do I? I don’t have to actually talk about them, giving them room to grow and turn into reality at some point. Choices, choices. It always comes down to choices. IF my Mom did have any doubts, fears and/or pain, she certainly never shared any of them. As much as I respect her for that – even more so with every passing year – I’m not her and I can’t be her.
⚔️ Her battles were fought – and won – in another dimension, a spiritual realm, where her mind and soul had to bow to a Greater Force, to see true victory. I know this, because I witnessed it many times. Not only that, I experienced it myself too. You may or may not understand what I’m talking about, though I hope you do. So maybe my ‘envy’ lies in the fact she managed this all on her own, whereas I have to share. I have to hold on to the thought, her faith was indeed enough for her to go through life without validation. I have to believe God’s Mercy was enough for her to get through life. I can only hope she didn’t feel like she had to hide anything from us, from me, because being strong All The Time takes a lot form a person, even when close to God. In my opinion and my experience, without Him, it’s impossible. A breaking point will sooner or later occur and backlash might not be pretty.
⚔️ My Mom the Warrior, did not seem to fight her illness when it was diagnosed. A true miracle believer she was, though I can’t remember her actually speaking about healing when she herself needed it the most. She must have known, maybe even instantly, her time had come. She certainly must have known when she asked me to help out my dad. Why didn’t she fight then? Why didn’t she Believe for Her Miracle to happen? Was she tired of fighting another battle, one that would cost her her life? Oh, she wasn’t talking about dying, not at all, but neither did she speak about surviving her illness and living. Did she feel she couldn’t do it alone again? Though we Believed! We Hoped! The only answer that can satisfy me: she approached her illness and thus, her death, the same way she had approached her life: In Complete Faith, but as I now also realize, Alone. Not lonely, because we were there, but because she chose so. Because this was her path.
⚔️ We all got to say goodbye a couple of days before she passed, but she wasn’t really with us anymore. Her spirit already roamed a better place and we had, and I still have, peace about that. There are no easy answers for me and to be honest, I don’t really need them. I have to go my own way, follow my own path and I can only be grateful for the example I had and in my mind and heart, still have. It’s not like my Mom was boasting about how strong she was, never. She knew she was human, weak. And so am I. Every time I catch myself sounding and/or acting like my Mom, I’m surprised. Our characters definitely were different, but it’s like she had her identity ingrained in me. Isn’t parenting a wonderful thing? Well, it should be. I always said I wanted to be like my Mom when I grow up and I do, even more so now I’m Nana. I’ll never stop fighting for my kids and now, grandchildren. Include in there all my loved ones, my ‘extra’ kids, all over the world.
Sure, I definitely want to be where my Mom was and I’m determined to get there. I want to be known as Nana, the Warrior, but my battles I will not fight alone.
Wishing y’all a fantastic weekend & just know, you don’t have to do it alone ❤