Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and, even after all this time, it’s tough — not that I only think of my mom once a year. Truthfully, I miss her everyday. I can’t tell you how many times a week I reach for the phone to call her.
It’s still an automatic reflex whenever I’m unsure about a recipe, or I’ve got news to share, or I’ve seen a movie I know she’d have loved, or some silly antic of hers pops out of my memory bank and into my consciousness.
She was a hoot. Feisty, funny, up for just about anything that didn’t involve elevators or heights.
In the summer of 2000 I became one of three founding partners of a small ad agency, named tattoo. This photo of my mother was taken at our official launch party. We had a couple of these huge boards positioned in the reception area of our office and, when the guests arrived, we asked them to pose behind them so we could snap a pic.
My mother was so short (barely five feet) she had to stand on a stool, so we’d see her face. And it looks like even with the stool she was on her tippy toes. But what she lacked in stature, she more than made up for in personality, charm, sense of humour, love of life, determination, strength, penchant for swearing and balls.
Nothing got her down, not even when she had to learn to give herself shots (insulin) or when she was told she’d need dialysis. Her attitude was, “if that’s what I’ve got to do … .”
Deciding — at 75 years old — she needed a change after my grandmother, my father and her twin sister died, she moved to Toronto — undaunted by the fact that she knew no one but me. In no time she signed up to volunteer at a hospital twice a week, met people, made friends and had a more active social life than I did.
Shortly before she died we were planning a trip to Montreal for a family event. Her caregiver wanted to go too, so we planned to drive. Excitedly she said to me, “Fransi, I can help you with the driving.” At that point my mother no longer had a drivers’ license and her remark caught me off guard.
Worried she was getting dementia I said, “you know you don’t drive any more, you don’t have a driver’s license now.” Her response?
“Who has to know?” She hadn’t forgotten, she just chose to ignore it.
Sadly we never got to take that trip, she died about a month before we were scheduled to leave. That upsets me — it just seems so unfair — she was really looking forward to it. I know she would have been disappointed, but as she did with every other curve ball life ever threw at her, she wouldn’t have dwelled on it or felt sorry for herself.
So I try not to, either; but from time to time I must confess it comes back to haunt me. Then I quickly remind myself that my mother would tell me that it was “no big deal and I should get over it, that life doesn’t always go your way.” She taught me and inspired me while she was alive and nothing’s changed. She was a great role model and she still is.