Saturday, November 1, 2008

My mom, Patty Ann..

Today my mom would have been 82 years old. She has been gone a staggering 14 years (I can't believe it has been that long). Before she got sick at the young age of 45, she was athletic, a golfer, a tennis player, a leader in the Girl Scouts. She raised 5 daughters. I use to be amazed at the thought that she used a whole loaf of bread to make our lunches. My mom was one of the strongest, most persistent people I have ever met.

When she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at such a young age, she never shed a tear that I saw. She just started fighting it with everything she had, medically, mentally..She didn't complain much to me anyway, never seemed to feel sorry for herself. After 10 years she ended up on a wheelchair and that is how she lived out her life. She just saw an obstacle and went over it. She persisted with an undaunted will...I must admit it was a real bummer to have the roles reversed so young. She was my mom and had always taken care of everyone and everything and now, she was the dependent one. She never demanded my attention, even when she got sick. We wanted to be around her, even if it was a few trips across country to mom's house to spend time with her. I always loved being around my mom for those visits. I could just hang out, go shopping with her, the wheelchair just became a part of our lives. In 1994, she became even more disabled by this crippling disease and finally, when she could no longer talk, she let go and passed on. There is never a day in my life that I do not miss my mom. The hole in my heart is smaller, as the days pass but I can still remember her voice, her unstoppable will power to live and go on and be positive.

I know that is why I am who I am today. That is what makes me want to conquer Ironman and Mount Kilimanjaro and do all the things that seem too hard.

Because my mom taught me that nothing is too hard if you just set your mind to it.

Happy birthday Mom!


cindy said...

Debi, your mom was beautiful and so strong. You look so much like her, and I know where you get your strength and determination from now.

Your mom will always live on through you!!

RBR said...

What a beautiful post and tribute. I agree with Cindy you can see that beauty, strength, and heart run in the family.

Esther said...

Hey Debi,
Happy Birthday Patty! I never saw a photo of your mom in her younger years, WOW do you look like her. I know she is smiling down on you.


Wonderful post! You had a great mom!

I was diagnosed with RA in 2002 when I was 47. I'm so thankful for the new drugs/medication. I'm doing very well, considering what it was like just 10-15 years ago.

I've been having a really bad week. Your words remind me how really blest I am! Thank You!

Acinom19 said...

That's a great post Aunt Debi. I never knew how strong she was. Just knowing that somehow makes me feel stronger. Thank you. And Grandma Stites is looking down on us all and smiling at everything we've accomplished.

Peggy said...

Great words, Debi! I mentioned yesterday to the kids that Grandma would have been 82. Whenever November 1st rolls around I remember when I went into labor that morning with Toby and called Mom thinking he would be born on her birthday, but it wasn't until two days later! whew! I miss mom too, but she is much better now--stronger than ever!

Susi said...

A beautiful tribute!

Heather said...

I was diagnosed with RA about 13 years ago when I was 28. The first few years were very difficult, but the newer meds have changed the course of the disease in the last few years. What a fine lady your mom must have been to persevere with strength and poise!

Calyx Meredith said...

Oh Debi - your mom was lovely. She sounds so strong and positive. (The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!)

JohnnyTri said...

i love that picture!!!
Happy Birthday Patty!


Anonymous said...

Aunt Debi, What a beautiful tribute for Grandma. I loved her so much and to this day I still tell people that the one thing i remember most about her is that she was always smiling and at peace and making others smile. I never heard her be angry or bitter and there is no better lesson I could have learned from her.


jedishoney said...

Aunt Debi... Thank you for that reminder. I know thats how grandma was becasue of what her dr. said after her death and the beautiful letter he wrote.. But it is nice to have the reminder. I think that is where my mom got her strength from.. ya think? She was the same. She didn't complain when she got sick.. just tried to work through it the best she could, and grew and learned at every obsticle. Love you grandma! miss you much!