She was/is my biggest supporter this side of heaven.
She worked so hard to support me. If she was less than 45 minutes early to work, her co-workers would joke that she was "running late." I often felt embarrassed by how proud she was of me. Some parents brag about their kids' grades to friends and co-workers. My mother would post a copy of my report card in her cubicle at work. So I would meet her co-workers and it wasn't "oh you're Barb's daughter. It was "oh, you got a 4.0 last quarter." She didn't take a sick day for 6 years.
My mom just didn't tell me helping the poor and needy was a nice thing to do: Every year she would stay up part of the night,outside on a cold Chicago December night and help out at a food drive
When my mom was diagnosed with Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000570.htm) October of my senior year of college. I wanted to drop out immediately and come home. My mother refused to let me, saying that I was going to graduate come hell or high water the following June. So when she underwent a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in Chicago the following January, I was probably in my Modern Drama class in Ohio listening to a lecture on Alfred Uhry. Needless to say, I didn't get a 4.0 that quarter. But before, during and after the transplant, she would ask constantly ask the doctors, "Will I be able to go to my daughter's graduation?" Doctors, being as they are, wouldn't make any promises. My mom recovered amazingly well from the transplant and five months after the BMT drive by herself from Illinois to Springfield, Ohio to see me graduate on time from Wittenberg University.
My mom did really well for several months after my graduation she even managed to go back to work for a few months. However she was soon feeling the effects of graft vs. host disease, (http://www.marrow.org/MEDICAL/graft_vs_host_disease.html) which is a common complication of bone marrow transplants. She and the doctors fought like hell for months to combat it but she lost the battle December 17, 1996.
In my grief, I vowed to God that I would do anything to prevent even one person from suffering as she did those last few months. Last August, I signed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's (www.lls.org) Team in Training (www.teamintraining.org) program to walk the P.F. Chang's Rock and Roll Marathon next January 9th to raise money for the Society. The Society does many wonderful things to help patients with blood cancers and their families. My mom and I benefited from their family assistance program which gives families money to help out with the extra things that insurance doesn't cover like the cost of transporting the patient to treatment. The Society also gives money to help research that will someday find a cure so that more 23-year olds like myself don't lose their mother.
So if you're wondering what to do with that $10, $25, $50, $100 (actually any amount is fine :)) you saved by beating down the doors of Wal-Mart at 6am this morning, please consider donating to my fundraising efforts by clicking here ( http://www.teamintraining.org/participant/bloom-228709) or by sending a check made out to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to me at: Deborah Bloom, 330 Somerset Drive, Streamwood, IL 60107-1043 within the next two weeks, I and the thousands of patients/families who have been affected by blood cancers would be eternally grateful for your support.
More than 76 cents of every dollar the Society receives goes directly to help patient families or fund research. Besides, your donations are fully tax-deductible and who like to pay taxes? Not me! For those of you who have already given, thank you, thank you, thank you!
So instead of wallowing around the house tomorrow in my grief as I've done on many of the major anniversaries following my mom's death, I'll be doing my own "turkey trot" of 16 miles in preparation for the marathon.
I'd like to think that my mom would post the picture of me after finishing the marathon in her cubicle.
Have a wonderful holiday season,
P.S. Feel free to pass this on to say, 50 of your closest friends! ;)