Friday, May 11, 2012

A Tribute to My Mom

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5

What I miss the most...A tribute to my mom!

I miss her voice the most. My mom's voice was a constant in my life and was more valuable to me than any sacrifice she ever made and any gif she ever gave.

Mom was simple and would be considered today as old-school. Growing up in San Francisco as the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, she was raised with all the drama and dysfunction that comes from the southern Italian culture. Being a middle daughter, she played life safe, I am told. Her older sister married young and her younger sister pushed my grandparent's limits, but Mom colored inside the lines, staying in the safe zone. Generationally, somehow Mom resolved to not let her family's drama pass to her own four kids. We would never know or have to face the dysfunction she was raised in. My memories of my childhood are extremely pleasant, largely due to her coloring inside the lines.

As a mom she was there for me in so many ways. She was there when I was a young child scared in the night; she would lay down with me until I fell asleep. She was there every weekday morning until I left for college, cooking me a hot breakfast and making my lunch. She was there in grammar school, volunteering most Thursdays, which were Hot Lunch Days. I was proud when my classmates told me my mom was pretty! She was there in the outfield, when I was in high school, shagging balls when Dad threw to me in batting practice. She was there in the stands at most every sporting event I competed in. She was there at the dinner table with food that was the envy of every friend I ever invited to dinner. My mom's presence was the heart of our home, creating the warmth that existed in our family.

Fifteen years ago, when Anne and I started at PCC, we noticed things that caused concern. Mom made multiple phone calls to us. In conversation, Mom would repeat information that she just mentioned as if it had not been said. Mom missed appointments. Early onset Alzheimer's was an unwelcomed diagnosis to her and to our family. I vividly remember the night in 2000 we were together at a charity function when she pulled me aside and broke down crying, telling me of her diagnosis, forgetting that I already knew. She had to relive that diagnosis countless times in that phase of the disease.

Last Friday, prior to our all-church retreat, Isabella and I ventured up to Novato to my parent's home. I walked into the room, and Mom was sitting in a chair, staring out into who-knows-where. Bella would greet her first, and then I would cup her face into my hands, get really close and stare into her eyes, wondering what she was thinking as she stared blankly at me. I broke the silence: "Mom, it's Bombo! (my childhood nickname). You look great! I love you!" As has been the case for too long now, there was no response.

As Mother's Day approaches, for some reason, this year I miss my mom more than usual. This has been way too long of a goodbye! I wish she understood my how thankful I am for her investment in my life; I wish she could see and interact with her grandchildren; I wish she could come and experience the ministry of PCC. I wish most I could hear her voice just one more time.