Monday Calls and Mother’s Day

It took me nearly five years to break the habit of the Monday call after mom passed. I would pick up the phone, let it ring and then remember.

For years, every Monday I would call my mom on the way home from work. It was my routine and one that I sometimes dreaded. Mom was not always the most positive person, if you knew her, you knew that she was a bit of a hypochondriac. Something was usually bothering her – a sore knee, aching back, or a headache. We would chat about this or that for an hour or so. She looked forward to these calls and although she was a bit of an “Eeyore,” she always made a point to let me know how proud she was of me.

Mom left this world way to early. I remember as a young child that mom had a fear of cancer, and rightfully so. She lost her dad from the terrible disease when he was just 53. That was in 1968 way before the advancements we now see in healthcare. Although considering how cancer continues to devastate lives in 2018, I wonder how far we have advanced. Her fear was real, and sadly that fear became a reality in 2005.

Mom went to the doctor for a stomach issue and later that day learned that she had a mass in her stomach about the size of a volleyball – it was cancer. Surgery was scheduled for the next day to remove the lump. The doctors were cautiously optimistic and the following 48 hours were encouraging. After a kiss and “I love you” I left mom around 5 pm to get home to the kiddos. She was in good spirits and said she felt as good as she had in a long time. I got a call at six the next morning to inform me that mom passed just a few minutes earlier. Complications from the surgery took their toll and efforts to revive her proved futile.

I don’t pick up the phone to call mom anymore, but I do think about her often especially around her birthday and Mother’s Day.

As we get older, we begin to value and appreciate time. Perhaps it’s experience, priorities or realizing our mortality. But, a time comes when we wish we could have one more day, an hour or even a minute with a loved one. What I would give for just one more Monday call with mom. One more opportunity to hear her lament about her headache and ultimately end the call by telling me how proud she was of me.

Regardless of how old we get, we want our parents to be proud of us. What you may not have considered is that our parents want us to be proud of them too. Those words “I am proud of you” are right up there with “I love you,” and need to be heard at every age.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I want to encourage you to make it extra special by telling your mom you’re proud of her. If you’ve lost your mom, then tell your wife or friend. There’s a mom in everyone’s life. If you have a strained relationship, I want to challenge you to blink first. Remember the game we played as kids where we stared at each other and the first one to blink “lost” the game. Well, the first one to blink in a strained relationship “wins.” Blink first by saying, “I am sorry,” “I love you,” or “I am proud of you.” We only have so many Mondays to make the call.

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