I didn’t understand. I thought it was all about me. It took me years as an adult to realize my mom was a treasure.
We are celebrating mothers this weekend. I cannot visit or call mine. I wish I could. She passed away a few years ago but I have been thinking about her. She enjoyed life and lived her life to the fullest. My mother overcame obstacles with drive and determination. She would not settle for less than her best.
She was born in India. She was brought up by her British parents in the era of British colonial rule called the Raj. She often recounted her memories of life in India. We heard wonderful tales of riding on elephants and going to boarding school in the mountains. It sounded like an easy life filled with privilege and fun. In 1947 my family immigrated to Canada. My mother learnt to run a home without the help of the servants she had in India. She had to learn how to cook on a wood stove with teenagers in the house. I think of how difficult that would be. My younger sister and I were born in Canada.
Life was very hard for my father in this new country. He had to take a labour job for the first time in his life. While I was quite young, he had a heart attack and later a stroke and was unable to return to work. My mother, now in her forties, had to go to work for the first time in her life. She began working in the library. She then secured a position as assistant teacher at a school for mentally handicapped children. She started to take correspondence courses and summer school at University so that she could upgrade her education. She was determined to get the education she required so that she could take on a teaching position and support her family. My mother was a very determined woman. She rose to every challenge.
When my father passed away, she remarried and was able to travel and explore the world. She continued to teach well past retirement age because she loved the children. My stepfather passed away when mom was 72. It was late June. She had two months before school started again. She knew what she had to do. Nothing was going to stand in her way. She had a job to do and was determined to do it. While she grieved, she took driving lessons. She got her driver’s license before school started in September. She loved the students and continued teaching for many years.
She lived her life to the fullest. Mom was a woman of great faith. She was involved in many groups at church. She loved hiking and swimming. She sang in the choir and had many friends. She took her students on many adventures. She was willing to try everything. I am thankful that when she went to go bungee jumping, the operators of the facility would not let her. They insulted her by telling her she was too old.
When she was in her eighties, she went on a camping trip to the arctic with my oldest sister. She was thrilled to be able to dip her toes in the Arctic Ocean.
Not long after that great vacation she suffered a stroke. The doctors sent her to the rehab hospital where she was to learn how to cope in a wheelchair. They knew she would never walk again. She would have none of that. She told them she would be getting up to walk. Her determination served her well and she did in fact gain enough strength to walk again.
I am inspired by the way she lived her life. I want to live life in colour the way she did. I want to keep learning. I want to challenge myself. I want to strive to reach higher. I want to live up to the lessons my mother taught me through the way she lived her life. Happy Mother’s day Mom.