“Keep up your spirit……it will take you to great heights, beyond your imagination” – M.J. Supanich (my Mom) – July 6, 2016.
My Mom made this statement to me nearly three weeks before she passed away. Little did I know that the day she said it was one of the last quality days I had with her before her health rapidly declined.
As the two-year anniversary of her death approaches, I’ve been thinking about her wise words and the encouragement she gave me that afternoon.
That day, the two of us sat together in the family room of my parent’s home. My Dad was out and about so it was just the two of us, enjoying each other’s company in the still warmth of a July afternoon.
Before cancer, my Mom and I would talk and laugh non-stop; we shared the same sense of humor and quick wit.
As my Mom fought cancer, we continued to spend time together, talking about treatment plans and updates on my boys and their activities.
Toward the end, our conversations were deeper and more insightful. There was no mention of cancer or death; our discussions resulted in lessons of wisdom, honesty, and courage.
As I sat across from my Mom, my feet tucked up on the club chair, arms hugging my legs that July afternoon, I remember smiling at her and doing my best to be positive. Despite my relaxed position, my Mom could read me like a book: my eyes told her I was unsettled and worried. She asked me what was wrong.
I sighed and told her I was worried about the pain she was having; I was concerned about my Dad; I was excited about my Coaching Certification – but was still wondering if it was the “right” thing for me. I told her about my anxiety about my son’s eating and health issues, and that I was questioning my ability as a parent.
After a few minutes of verbally vomiting, I stopped, took a deep breath and smiled like everything was fine. It had been so long since I had shared so much with her, I didn’t want to weigh her down while she was dealing with cancer.
My Mom didn’t say anything for a minute and then she carefully said “Keep up your spirit, Karen. It will take you to great heights, beyond your imagination.”
Those words cascaded over me, bringing forth instant warmth and comfort as well as tears to my eyes.
Five days later, my Mom was admitted to the hospital for a week, then returned home for Hospice care. Our communication was focused on pain relief and comfort. Ten days later, she was gone.
Over the past two years, I’ve focused on maintaining a positive outlook; it is work and some days are easier than others. I often think of those wise words my Mom shared with me and all of the wonderful things I’ve accomplished: starting a blog, hiking to the top of Half Dome, and diagnosing our Lymes – since her passing.
She was right: I am soaring to new heights as I experience life with more wisdom, patience, and imagination, knowing my Mom’s spirit is in my heart.