November 30, 2008

Me & Mom...


This is my favorite pic of Mom and me!
My mom is gone but not forgotten!  It's been hard over the past three years to be without her.  If you knew her, you'd understand why!  I have been blessed to have had such a wonderful mom in my life for 40 years... I know that some people lose their parent(s) younger than I was when I lost mine.  
My mom was such a ray of sunshine, a light that burnt bright never quavering... Even in the face of cancer, she stood strong and brave.  She never complained to us (her kids).  I lived in denial until the end that it was really as bad as it was, because she looked so radiant and bright and smiley...even after all the chemo, radiation and other treatments she endured, hoping to beat this horrible maladie.  She gave it her all, she did a lot of it for us- so that she would live and stay around.  She wanted to live - she wanted to stick around. 

One day, about 3 years into her cancer (breast cancer).. she and I were walking around the field at Occidental College... I asked her how she was feeling about everything... She said to me that she was okay... but that she wanted to live and that "this cancer really SUCKS!" 

Mom was very funny... always making jokes about things and keeping us in stitches.. I miss her quick wit and great sense of humor... She could make you pee in your pants she was that funny!!

I wanted to share this special story with you all... It's a story I like to tell when people ask me about me and Alex - about how we met and how much he means to me....

Here it goes (although I am going to have to hold back the tears so I can type this)...

Alex had already planned to take his very first vacation in the U.S. (back in Dec. 2005).  He had his tickets and was really looking forward to spending the holidays with me and my family and meeting my friends and all...
Well, it was that in Oct., Mom's condition took a turn for the worse and she we almost lost her... She was really, really sick due to her liver being really bad off (about a year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it went to her liver).  
She had had a masectomy just after she was first diagnosed so she had no more breast cancer after that.  However, it had metastasized to her liver and was inoperable... she started chemo and another treatment called herceptin to combat the cancer in her liver... Nothing really worked, but it did buy her some more time with us.... which I am thankful for.  Mom looked really good for about 4 1/2 years so I was in denial that she was really bad off... PLUS, I was just holding onto the hope that she would get better!
Around the end of Oct.... I was on Messenger with Alex and asked if he could possible take a few days off from work and fly to the U.S. right away... even just for a few days... I wanted him to meet Mom before it was too late.  I had a feeling she wasn't going to last until he got there in December and it was sooo important to me that they both meet each other, because the were both so important to me...   
Alex was a little confused at first but when I said, "I don't think my mom will make it to December..."  He then said, "Okay, let me see what I can do."  That was on a Thursday night... Alex arrived at LAX on Saturday.  He spent a week with us... and Mom just loved him... and she was still pretty mobile and able to talk and all.. She adored him, as did everyone else in my family... esp. my dad and step mom!  
 It's a sweet story and a sad one... but I know how wonderful it was for my mom to meet him and for him to meet her!  I will always remember this for the rest of my life!

18 comments:

Barbara said...

Hey Leesa,
I remember talking to you about your Mom, and doing the same about my Dad ( note: he died of cancer also).
We shared our feelings about the strenght that often comes through adversity.

That is so very special that Alex came over when he did.I think that it was important for your Mom, to get to know the special man in your life .

I'm hugging both Alex & you xxxxxx

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Big hug to you Leesa..Very special lady, so pleased that Alex was able to get there and meet her!

Leesa said...

Hi Barbara,

Yes... I can remember our conversation very clearly... it was very nice to be able to talk to someone like you... It's sad that we have both lost a beloved parent. It really changes the way you think. But, you are right- that strength comes through adversity. The pain subsides a bit, but the missing part still remains very strong! Thanks for the big hug for me and Alex.
I have to share that on our way back to Paris today, we stopped in a gas station and I found two cute scarves. When I was in the check out line paying, the date flashed across the screen and when I SAW that it was Nov. 30, I choked up and when I got back to the car I started crying. I had not realized the date- and it hit me at once- that today was the anniversary date of my mom's passing... Alex saw that I was crying and asked what was the matter- I told him and he said softly to me, "Your mom is up in Heaven now, she's looking down at you and she wouldn't want you to be sad." It was really sweet... God, I do love that man!!!

Anne- Thanks so much for the big hug... I can always use a hug... I often miss them but get my fill from Alex and other friends here!
I am sooo happy the she and Alex met... I never told her I was going to move to France- but somehow, she knew... I am just so happy she was so thrilled and in adoration of Alex... She told me she wished she could speak French so she could talk more to him.. She spoke to him a little in Spanish...
Thanks for your kind words today and always, Anne!!! Take care, Leese

roulamouse said...

thank you for sharing this personal story... I'm sure it is very hard, but you have been so blessed!!

debi_in_Hawaii said...

Now you got me crying! Alex is a real sweetheart!
and your mom is the MOST BEAUTIFUL ANGEL!

Leesa said...

Linda,

Thanks so much... I just started crying-- de nouveau when reading yours and Debi's comments...

Debi--- Me, too.... wahhh... The tears started rolling again when I read your comment... Thanks so much for your kind words...

Starman said...

Not surprisingly, your mom is very pretty.

debi_in_Hawaii said...

We're sorry...we didn't mean to make you cry.
{{{HUGGGGGS}}}

Susu said...

Leesa, I profoundly understand the deep love that you have for your Mom. And the ache too. The precious memories that you have of your dear Mommy will always be there for you. I'm wishing you courage to go through these days when you are especially thinking of her!

Ron said...

Bonjour Leesa!

I just finished reading the post below and looking through all the AWESOME photos of not only your beautiful mother, but of the whole family. You're mom had such gorgeous hair!! The first image of she and you, is so filled with energy and LOVE...you can feel it!

I know only being three years ago since her passing, it's still so fresh. For me, when my father died, it took time. That first year was the hardest for me, as I'm sure it was for you.

My mother died when I was 6 years old (cancer also), so for me, I had a delayed reaction to her death, which I began to move through and mourn when I got into my early 30's. She and I had a very special connection to one another. And even to this day...I can feel her.

I've discovered that mourning is a process and it gradually takes you into a place of peace.

So feel all that you feel right now, my friend...and know that your mother is holding you in her heart!

Sharing much love and hugs with you, dear lady!

XXXXX(Leesa)XXXXXX

Au Soleil Levant said...

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful memories of your mom. She sounds like an amazing, feisty lady. And she was totally right, cancer does suck a lot, it is a horrible monster that takes people who should still be on this earth with us. But she clearly made a huge impact on the world in the too-short time she was here.... everything that was wonderful about her continues in you and flows into the lives of all the the people you meet. Thank you for sharing.

Our Juicy Life said...

Leesa - what a wonderful story. The picture of you and your mom is beautiful - she was beautiful. I lost my dad in July and it was hard and still is hard. I also have a good friend here in France who had colon cancer 2 years ago, she had operation and it was gone until 1 year ago they found it had metastisized to her liver, she has 27 tumors on her liver. She's only 40. It makes me look at each day and love it, appreciate it and live it.

Leesa said...

Starman-- Thanks!! Mom is/was a beautiful woman with a heart of gold and a smile that was like a ray of sunshine.... She's really missed!!

Debi- It's okay... Nothing wrong with a good cry when you're missing your loved one...

Leesa said...

Susu, Ron, OJL... I just deleted what I wrote in response to your comments.. so it's going to take me a little more time to respond... Oops!!
Leese

Kelli said...

Leesa, What a very special story you shared with us! I am sorry for the loss of your mom. How special that her and Alex were able to spend a whole week together! A blessing in the light of a tragedy.

Leesa said...

Kelli-- Thanks sooo much, too... It's one of the things that stayed with me the most.. That they were able to meet each other... It's sad that she is gone and cannot be here with us.. I know that she would have LOVED to come to visit us here in France!! It would have made her sooo happy!!! It is a blessing that Alex got to meet her... Thanks for your special thoughts!! It means a lot to me...

OJL,

I can remember this summer when your dad passed away.. I remember crying as I was reading about it.. I know you understand what it's like to lose a beloved parent and the deep feeling of lose that we go through.. It's also a feeling of helplessness that we couldn't make them better.... or cure them... I have a lot of saddness when I think about all my mom went through.. She was such an amazing and inspirational woman...
I'm sooo sorry to hear about your friend in France... It really breaks my heart to hear about these things... It touches me deeply when I hear about what people have to go through.. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend and her friends and loved ones...

Au Soleil Levant- Sooo true!! When my mom was living with cancer for five years.. one of my biggest questions was: WHY MY MOM?!! My momm is kind, loving, caring - always thinking of others before herself... Her death is a loss for all of us and all of those she came into contact with.. EVERYONE loved my mom.. you could not say a negative thing about her.. She was there for EVERYONE! I thought it was sooo unfair how there are sooo many EVIL people running around the earth doing their evil things... alive and well.. But, my dear and beloved mom got cancer and had to die.... I lost some of my faith at that time... and my thoughts about God and the after life have changed a bit... But, I still hold onto my faith... and I am still sooo sad to have lost my mom...when she was still young and healthy... (before the cancer)... Thanks for your thoughts!!

Ron... Ron... I had really no idea you lost your mom at such a young age.. It's very tragic!! I cannot imagine what you (or any child) goes through after the loss of a parent. I can understand that when you are young it may be different that when you are older- but it is all grieving that we go through- young or old... I can see how you went through a period of mourning again when you were older... I'm also very sorry you lost your dad, too.. I'm thankful you moved into a place of peace.. I'm still not there yet.. I hope one day, I will be... I know I'm not in the same place of grieving I was even a year ago... It was soooo painful then.. The "pain" part is gone.. It's just the missing part that is sooo strong! Thanks so much for sharing, Ron.. It really means a lot to me..
Take good care..
Leesa

Rochelle said...

What a lovely photo, your mother was really stunning! Thank you for telling us about her, I can see how you ended up such a happy and positive person with such a great role model.

Leesa said...

Thanks Rochelle...

That's how I think of my mom!! As a stunning and beautiful woman... I don't even really like to talk about her in the past tense as I like to "feel" that she is still with us!!
Thanks so much for your kind words and observations... I got a lot of my mom's free spirit from her!!
She was a ballerina and flamanco dancer, too... !