August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Mom

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and it would have been my Mom's 78th birthday. We have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far.

Unfortunately, my mother passed away in 2003 after a lengthy illness. While I miss her like crazy, I know she is in a better place since she was in constant pain during the last several years of her life.

Mom had strokes starting with her first one in the 80s. Over the years, she had four major strokes and so many mini-strokes we lost count. But she never gave up. Her goal was to live to see her 50th wedding anniversary with my Dad. Luckily, she lived two months past their 50th anniversary and it was probably one of the happiest days of her life.

I was home to visit the Christmas before her passing and I remember her following my Dad from room to room. Finally Dad asked her what she was doing and she responded she wanted to spend every second she had left with the man she had loved for almost fifty years.

See my Mom had her last major stroke several months before she passed. It was probably the worst one she had ever had. She ended up spending months in the hospital followed by even more months in rehabilitation. The stroke was so bad Dad was worried he might have to put her in a nursing home.

But Dad being the man he is was not going to have the love of his life in a nursing home. He did all he could himself and even ended up hiring a nurse to help him take care of mom so she could stay at home. I learned the true meaning on unconditional love from my parents. I know it so hard on my Dad watching Mom deteriorate and basically become dependent for almost all her needs. But they stayed together until the end.

Unfortunately, I was out of the country when Mom passed away and they were not able to reach me by cell phone. I was working with children with HIV and AIDS in a remote part of Mexico. After I finally received the telegram and messages from Dad and my brother, I grabbed the next flight back to the states so I could be at Mom's funeral.

I was beside myself with grief. See my Mom (and Dad) have always been in my corner and shown me unconditional love. Being not only a gay man but also one of the first Americans diagnosed with HIV (when it was still called GRID) did not make things easy for my parents. But they stood up for me when their friends and even some from church turned their backs on them because of me.

My parents also taught me to do stand up for what is right, for those less fortunate than myself and to make the best of all situations life presented me. So they are a big part of why I am still here after living with HIV and AIDS for almost thirty years. They are also due credit for me being the man I am today.

Mom was always involved in activities with her church whether singing in the choir, teaching Bible classes, running the youth group or being in charge of the nursery. She also did yearly toy fund raisers for the girl's and boy's home in our city to make sure those kids had Christmas presents.

When I got back to the states, I had a message on my cell phone from my Mom saying she loved me and was proud of what I was doing down in Mexico. I will never forget that message. It was the last time I heard her voice even though she had already passed by the time I received it.

So Mom, here is wishing you Happy Birthday. I look forward to when I see you again. Until then, I will keep on doing like you taught me and helping those less fortunate.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab