I'm still finding it strange each day that one of you tell me I'm inspiring. So much has happened since November 30th and my life has taken on a whole new direction. I like that you think I have something to share, don't misunderstand, it's just very odd. I don't feel like I know all that much but I'm learning that what I do share is genuine. Put yourself in my shoes though... Imagine how you would feel? This horrible thing happens and your life is sent reeling. I liked my life prior to this accident. It wasn't perfect of course but it was pretty damn good. I'd like it back. You'd forgo us being new friends for the sake of having your old life back too. Who wouldn't? Nobody wants to carry this crap. But I say these things as if you haven't tried to step into my shoes... of course you have, that's why you reach out to me. You feel my pain.
You got me to thinking about who inspires me. Beyond celebrities like Oprah and Joel Osteen whom I know I've mentioned before. I could list a series of others that you would know and possibly agree with me on I'm sure. I imagine the forty-something moms relate to me best because that's my age. Seems the teenagers read too though. I can't grasp why to be honest. Maybe they don't have a mom? Maybe their mom is just totally different? Maybe they like anonymously reading adult thoughts from the privacy and seclusion of their computer? I will never quite know the reasons why. Why do men read? I know my brothers read because they love me and feel comfort in knowing I don't plan to jump off a bridge? I promise I won't. I have too much to do - for me, for Chris, for this family, for you! I have no plans to curl up and check out.
You tell me I'm strong, that I have a strength you don't know you'd have in my shoes. I say you need to look at the situation and I bet you too would find a reason to fight. My son was a victim, an innocent party along with Deanna, Matt and Bailey. If I shut down how can that be good? How can I honor my son if I never speak about him? He was fabulous! You wouldn't know a thing about him other than the tidbits in the media if I didn't ask you into my life. I'm OK with that. This is my new life. Christopher belongs to all of us.
I bet Bailey doesn't mind sharing him with you either. She got the best part of him, his heart. She continues to talk about him all the time and repost his tweets and texts. The kid was a gem. Not perfect mind you, but awesome stock and full of kindness.
But I'm off track here. My inspiration? Has to be my mom. Let me give you the tiniest synopsis of my life. Picture this if you're looking for someone strong to admire...
In 1973 my father passed away. He had emphysema. Yes, he was a smoker which was totally acceptable then of course. People smoked in the house, at restaurants, at their office desk, in the car etc. He had smoked for many years. He died when he was forty seven. My mom was forty six (same as me right now). Difference? I have two kids, she had eleven. Eleven children and your husband dies... Who could handle that one? My mother. Who could begin to imagine how she handled it? None of us. She never had a nervous breakdown and I don't think she ever sought counseling. I bet she felt she didn't have time. For all I know she went into auto-pilot and remained there. I was seven, and the youngest, Ann was twenty-four and the oldest. Nine more in the middle. Try and carry that. You think you have trouble remembering to make lunch or pack your back pack? How about making a minimum of seven lunches each night for the ones still in school. And the boys? They ate like three sandwiches, not just one.
Not a single one of us went without. We had the basics and sometimes more. We did, in my opinion, miss out on the intimate relationship that a lot of parents have with their kids but that's to be expected with a big crew of needy children. My mom worked both full time and part time. She had to, who could afford us??? She worked full time as a secretary for a senator in Albany at the Capitol.
Mom also was the organist at Our Lady Help of Christians downtown for over sixty years. She came on as a substitute for their organist and never left. She played weekend masses, weddings, wakes and funerals. My mom worked seven days a week. She never dated either. She tried once but I bet it was overwhelming for the poor guy. I only recall her ever having one date.
Maybe I'm so acutely aware of my boy’s personalities because I longed for that relationship with my mom? I do know that it always bugged me that I had to remind her I only liked grape jelly on my pj&j and that I wouldn't eat a burger if it had ketchup or mustard on it. She didn't know I slept in my grade school uniform so I didn't have to change in the morning. I hated to be cold and figured if I slept in my school jumper I could avoid the chill. She also didn't know - or didn't remember that I hated peas and forked them onto the floor for the dog. She always knew where I was though - and she kept me safe and made sure I was educated straight thru college. She even put me into private school so I would be watched more carefully.
My mom gets props in the inspiration department. She's eighty-six now and still lives in the house we grew up in. It's a two family home but we used all of it... that gave us six bedrooms, two bathrooms, two kitchens and two living rooms. Didn't everyone have that????? I thought they did. All the houses around us were two families. Our friends and neighbors had the same floor plan we did. It wasn't until I started having play dates that I realized there were other styles of homes. Some were huge!
Inspiration comes from whoever sparks a feeling in you. My mom created sparks for me many years ago, she still does. She held me close when she heard the news of Chris's passing and she whispered in my ear. I'll keep the conversation to myself. Suffice it to say a mother’s love runs deep. She made me feel better. I know I'm not your mom but if I spark inspiration in you then that's a good thing. Grab it and hang on. Share it too. Be someone else's inspiration.
Thank you for reading.