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The Gut Punch Podcast’s Episode #57 - Memories of Mom - takes a look back at a wonderful life of a loving parent that was lost to cancer one year ago. Many of us have lost a loved one over the years, but none has had an affect on me like the loss of my mom.
Mom and Dad had four children, starting with Pam in 1959, Dawn in 1962, Robbie in 1963, and then the baby of the family, me in 1969. Mom had a difficult birth with Pam and lay dead on the operating table while doctors tried an unproven, experimental drug to revive her. I only heard my mom speak about this event once. I couldn’t imagine giving life to a child and dying while doing it. But, like most things, Mom didn’t focus on the negatives of her past; she concerned herself with the here and now.
Over the years, my brother and sisters were healthy and were living a good life in the 60’s. However, before the astronauts could reach the moon, the sickest child was born. From the time I was nine months old, I developed breathing issues. Even today, I struggle to breathe. Mom’s dedication to me was undeniable as she slept on a den couch holding me upright to keep me from suffocating . How many parents do you know who would do this for a month? I say not many, but my mom somehow did it for four solid years. So my bond with her blossomed at a young age.
Time had passed and everything was good with my health until I reached fourth grade. In September 1979, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes (now it is called Type-1) which was considered a death sentence back then. Mom and I stayed a week at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis as I learned about my new condition. Over the course of a week we heard a plethora of bad news about my future lifespan, but mom was determined to keep me alive. Everything changed - what foods I ate, when I ate, and injecting insulin shots for the rest of my life. And, as hard as it was, neither Mom nor Dad failed to make me feel better about my predicament. Nine and ten year olds don’t understand why they are different; they just know they are different!
Mom rescued me from health woes many times over the years, but none were more tangible than the year of hell, 1998. This was the year I started going blind. When my ex-wife couldn’t take me to my Ophthamologist visits - Mom did! When I needed somebody to listen to me complain - Mom listened. When I was losing my livelihood - Mom decided to use her time to help me travel my three state territory, She helped me survive and thrive. I could not repay her for what she did for me, but I always tried to thank her and let her know she was loved.
Then Mom became ill. I now lived in Dallas, she in Memphis. I often visited, but now, I think it wasn’t enough. Through it all, she rarely complained about her plight. After open heart surgery, two lung surgeries, eighteen months in ICU, breast cancer, jaw cancer, and 100 pound weight loss, she still made everyone else feel important. On one visit, I had Mom buy an iPad so that we could FaceTime often. Up until that point, Mom’s biggest tech gadget was a pen. She didn’t know how to do anything on that iPad, but she knew how to reach me. I hope it made her happy because I do miss our daily talks. I don’t know if I ever made her life better, but I know she made mine better.
Mom and I had been through a lot over our years together. Marilyn Chandler was the kind of mom most kids dream about. She was loving yet tough, simple but insightful, and she always put others before herself. Thank you for what you did for me. I miss you and I love you. I’m sure Heaven is better place since you got there.
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