She’s the only one I ever knew. The one person that believed in me when everyone else had doubts. She was the person that felt I could do no wrong, and even when I did she still loved me unconditionally. She let me know I was special, intelligent, gifted and beautiful. And she loved to brag on my accomplishments. She was proud to see me flourish and find my way. And then May 23, 2001 came. That’s the day my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. In addition to fighting the disease, my mother’s main worry was what would happen to me – her only child.
I didn’t know until years later, but my mother initially kept a journal of her battles with ovarian cancer. She also talked about overcoming different obstacles. And then one day, she stopped writing. The same day she stopped writing in her journal, is the day I moved out of her house and into my own apartment. I never knew that my move affected her.
For the five years she battled cancer our relationship blossomed. I made sure I took one day each week to spend the night at her house. As her health declined I stayed more nights. As I saw her become more weak, yet still look elegant and a symbol of strength, I knew there were many questions I always wanted to know. So, I had someone interview her and discuss things like how she met my father, why she chose our church and what advice she has to offer me. I cherish that video.
My mother passed away on May 23, 2006. I was at peace with her death because she and I had a special bond that still lives within me. Since my mother’s death I have made it my mission to give back to the Louisville community in the same way my parents did. If you knew my mother, she was definitely one of God’s angels sent to make a difference on everyone that came in her path. And while I will never be Dr. Lillian Yeager, I will continue to strive and make my own personal mark.
This Mother’s Day I ask everyone to do one thing. Make amends with the ones you love. We can’t pick our relatives but we can definitely support them and let them know we care. So often we think so much about ourselves and hold grudges against people that have caused us harm. Realize, though, that nobody is perfect and tomorrow isn’t promised. Ask anyone that has lost a parent, sibling or child that they never made amends with. It’s a feeling that can haunt you and one that you can’t reverse. So this Mother’s Day, reach out to someone and tell them you love them. Maybe you’ll call your brother that you haven’t talked to all year. Why not send your childhood friend a text message just to say hello. And even though you and your mother may fight like cats and dogs (or maybe your father was never there for you) – reach out and show you care.
M.Y. May 2010