Tonight I was watching on-demand TV and a tagline in a commercial jumped out at me. Live for the good. Even as I was watching my show, the words in my mind started swirling, coming together as something I wanted to share. Coming together as the truth.
My mom’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was a shock to all of us, and it seemed with each passing week, the news kept getting worse. I didn’t know how my mom truly felt during this time since she never stopped living for each moment she had left with her family. During the 349 days my mom had from the day she was diagnosed until the day she died, my mom lived for the good. She tried to live her life as if she didn’t have cancer and made the most of the time she had left.
My mom celebrated one last Christmas and Easter with us. She made our last Christmas together as special as she had done for so many years before, and my mom laughed and smiled as she watched her grandkids hunt for eggs on Easter. She celebrated one last birthday with each of us, including her own, and she and my dad celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. My mom went through one last corn maze, a family tradition, and watched her granddaughter become a princess for Halloween. My mom never gave up living for the good, even when it was obvious that she was dying. I believe that this was most evident the day my son tested for his black belt. My mom’s will to live and belief in her grandson were stronger than the deadly cancer living inside her, as she held on to life so she could hear that her grandson had become a black belt in TaeKwonDo. During the last year of her life, my mom never stopped living for the good.
I believe this is true for most of us. I don’t live for the bad things to happen in my life. They do happen, but I work through the bad times and look forward to the good times. Even the littlest moments in life can be something good. The one thing that comes to mind instantly is when I pick my daughter up from school. Almost every day, she flies out the classroom door with a smile on her face and gives me a hug. On our walk to the car, she chatters away about her day in school, telling who said this and who did that. I realize that it never gets old because my daughter is happy. As a child, she most definitely lives for the good.
There are also days of uncertainty. Will this be a good day? For me, this past Saturday was one of those days. It was the 5 year anniversary of my mom’s death. As Nick said in a comment on my last post, there were times of reflection throughout the day. At one point in the morning I thought “5 years ago today at this moment my mom was still with us.” But unlike in years past, I didn’t dwell on her last night with us or the morning of her death. I didn’t go to the cemetery. I spent the day watching high school football with my dad and cheered our team on as they won their first playoff game. I wished my mom could have seen my son during the halftime show. If she had been there, I know she would have been proud of her grandson, a smile on her face and her eyes filled with love, and she probably would have yelled as loud as I did.
This year, on the anniversary of my mom’s death, I didn’t stop living or spend the day in sadness. I lived for the good, and although I missed my mom’s physical presence, it was a nice day, and the memories I had of my mom throughout the day were ones of times when we lived for the good.