December 12th was the 8 year anniversary of my mother's passing away.
Regardless of one's religious or spiritual views, one thing that we can all agree on is that people live on in the hearts and minds of those that knew and loved them. For some, that is a lot of people. It certainly was in my mother's case. She touched the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people during her short time with us. She cared more than most. She went out of her way more than most. She made a difference to those that she knew and loved and to strangers too.
Strangers? I can remember that when I was a teenager, she saw a homeless man and for some reason he really pulled her heartstrings. She ran home and got blankets, sweaters, snacks and went right back to deliver them to the homeless man. She needed to do something for him.
She had a huge heart that knew no boundaries. Some would say that she cared too much. I would never say that. What I would say is that she was a little crazy…..maybe more than a little. For so many years it seemed as though she never left her house without a cooked turkey or a sheet of lasagna in a cooler in her trunk. After all, you never know when you might meet someone who needs a turkey or lasagna! When my cousin Jon married Marcella it seemed as though it was months before they made their own dinner. Why is that? Because early in the morning my mother would drop off a complete meal for the two of them. If my mother wanted you to have something, she figured out a way to get it to you, whether you wanted it or not. She was a master of covert operations.
While it may sound like she was more than a little annoying, she wasn't and nobody minded her eccentricities because it all came from a place of love. It all came from her heart. She spent her life taking care of those that she loved most, often neglecting her own needs and health. That is part of the reason why when diagnosed with cancer it was already at stage IV. Our lesson learned: you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.
My mother taught us many things. She taught us how to share and to care more and how that can make a difference. She taught us how to give without expecting anything in return. She taught us that when we do things for others, and it comes from our heart, there is no limit of how much we can give.
December 12 may be the anniversary of the day she died. It is certainly a day to remember her. In my case, so was 2 days ago And 4 days ago and 11 days ago. I can honestly say that I think about her every day and that I am not alone. She was extraordinarily close with my wife and my children, my brother and his family, cousins, neighbors, her accountant, insurance agent, colleagues and more. The day that she died may seem like an unusual reason for remembering her. But I see it as just one more reason to remember her. After all, I do it every day.
You may be gone, Mom. But you are still a part of our lives and that is how we keep you living forever.
Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.