It is hard to believe that we are about ¾ of the way to Ottawa. Where has the time gone? Although we feel our toughest days are behind us, the next few days will be filled with excitement and sore feet as we make our way to Parliament Hill.
Even though we had two tough days of running in cold and rainy conditions (running on the side of a road in mud that sinks poses a few challenges), it was all worth it after being welcomed by Kingston General Hospital (KGH). We had the honour of being greeted by Matthew Del Grosso and Dr. Hugh Langley of KGH, as well, we met Dr. James J. Biagi, Deputy Head, Department of Oncology at Queen’s University. The warm welcome was beyond our expectations and a moment I will remember forever. If there is anything positive that I can take away from being touched by cancer, it is it the wonderful people I have met who are fighting to make a difference in our world. Thank you KGH for your support in helping to fight this terrible disease.
I have been thinking a lot over the past few days about my next blog. I pretty much write my blogs in my head while trying to forget the 20km ahead. Today’s blog is very special to me because I am writing it on what would have been my mom’s 69th birthday. I am thankful that my mom was able to live long enough to see my brother and I grow up into independent (my friends might laugh when they read about me being independent) young adults. Although this eases the pain, it still doesn’t take away the regret I sometimes feel about moving forward in my life without her. The “firsts” after losing a loved one are always hard to go through. I remember going to buy my mom a birthday card the first year after she passed away. I felt odd trying to find the perfect card for her. After I bought a card, I had planned to visit her grave and bring her a small coffee (black with just a touch of sugar). I wanted so badly to sit there and enjoy a conversation just like we had before she passed away. Unfortunately, I never made it to her grave. In almost 10 years, I have only visited my mom less than a handful of times. This bothers me since my mom made sure I promised to visit her after she passed away. One day I will visit and will make sure it will be often, but for now I am not ready to go. Although I have healed the anger that turned me into someone I barely recognized, I have yet to heal the part of me that acknowledges that my mom is truly gone.
I titled today’s blog “Sophie’s Angels” because there are three women I have thought a lot about during one of my runs this week. After my mom passed away, I had a wonderful support system from many of her friends and from my family. Although I pushed and resisted allowing many friends and family from being a part of my life, today I am thankful for the angels my mom left to take care of me. Selfishly, I only wanted my mom and not someone else to fill in. I thought that showing my love for my mom meant shutting other people out. I was wrong.
One of Sophie’s angels was my sister-n-laws mother, Betty. Betty was always there for me to talk to and to help guide me through many rough patches (you will read about her more in my next blog). Another of Sophie’s Angels in my life is my Chocha Pat. She is truly my mom’s sister and has been there for me my entire life. Just like my dad, she too has taught me about unconditional love. My Chocha Pat loves me like she loves her own children. Although I might have resisted in the beginning, it is healing to be hugged and loved the same way my mother loved and cared for me. Finally, my third Sophie’s Angel is Fran. I have lived in the same house for my entire life. Through the most important parts of growing up, I lived next door to the Prisniaks, truly remarkable neighbours. I never realized how close we were as neighbours until after my mom passed away. Fran, who had since moved to a different part of town, instantly took me on as her fourth daughter. The phone calls I missed from my mom were now from Fran calling to see if I was ok and if I needed anything. When my plate is too full, there is Fran helping me get through it all. She truly treats me like one of her own daughters and my relationship with her is a special one. I am thankful that I didn’t push these ladies out of my life and resist the love they all wanted and want to give to me on behalf of my mom. Accepting love from others does not mean that I have forgotten about my mom. My mom would not have wanted it this way. She would want me happy and I truly believe she handpicked these women to take on the roles that she was unable to fulfill on earth.
The best gift I can give my mom on her birthday is not material, but instead to continue to live my life the way she wanted me to, both happy and loved.