This post was originally published July 21, 2010.
34 years ago today, my mother died. This upcoming Saturday will be the anniversary of both of my parents' funerals. We buried them on the same date, 19 years apart. When I was 31 years old, my father died two-day prior to the anniversary of my mother's death. His passing hit me very hard, not only because I mourned my father's death, but because I also grieved for my mother.
My Mom was 43 years old when she died, younger than I am today. When I was three years old and my sister was in the first grade, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. From the beginning, my mother's primary goal was survival. She had a burning desire to raise her children. To that aim, she underwent several painful procedures to extend her life so she could achieve this objective. When she passed away, I was twelve and my sister was three weeks away from turning sixteen.
However, she did much more than raise us, she gave us a life long example of strong Christian faith, determination and love of family. My mother trusted God would give her the strength and courage her needed to fight the disease. My mother was not creative like my father, however she was the brain and heart of our family. Her talents were in education, organization, finance, and motherhood. My Mom ran her household like a classroom. Academics, art and religion were cultivated in our house. She encouraged my sister and me to learn, and do our personal best in school and in life.
Long after her death, I still hear my mother's voice in my head encouraging me to try harder, to be less selfish, to put family first. From my mother, I inherited my work ethic, my organization skills, and my desire to overcome obstacles in life. She was the driving force that motivated me to graduate from college and start a family .