Happy 75th Birthday, Mom

Today marks what would have been my mom’s 75th birthday. She was a mere 29 years old when she brought me into the world, and she left it 44 years and 23 days later. It has now been 19 months since she left us, but her influence in my life remains with me every single day. This is the mark of an extraordinary person.

Through the magic of Facebook, I have heard from many former classmates from my youth who remember my mom. Without exception, the comments I receive are memories of her beauty, both inside and out.

The only drawback to being the legacy of a remarkable person is the impossible task of living up to her example. She made life seem easy. Her grace, her humility, her simplicity, her faith. These qualities were what drove her through her life. When I was a young boy, she sacrificed so much to shield me from the complexities of life. When I was an adolescent, she often assumed the role of father, as well as mother, due to my dad’s grueling work demands as a police inspector in San Francisco. Mom attended every single sporting event I ever participated in. Believe me, between the ages of 5 and 18, with all the sports I played, I kept her busy. It wasn’t just the games, but also the practices.

I know there were times when my decisions in life didn’t please her. In fact, I know there were times when I broke her heart. But with the qualities she possessed which made her the amazing human being she was, she was a faithful and supportive mother. Through her tears, I know she prayed for me.

As a grown man, I know how complicated life really is. As an adult, I learned of the extreme difficulties my mother endured as a young mother of two. Those who knew her know what an extraordinary person she was. But no one can truly comprehend to what degree.

I am blessed enough to know.

I pray that I would display even a small percentage of the grace, dignity and strength my mom demonstrated each and every day of her life, particularly in her final 10 years.

Her’s was a life well lived. And each of us who knew her are better for having had her influence in our lives.

Mom, you are missed. Your love is alive and in my heart. Thank you for living your life as an example to us all. While life has its challenges, each day is a gift and an opportunity to love and be loved.

Happy Birthday.

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