I LOVE fall in Chicagoland. I love the colors, the
scents, and the football! Growing up a Chicago girl, I can't
imagine living anywhere without colorful fall leaves and sweatshirt
weather. It truly is my favorite season.
However, four years ago, I spent my favorite season
slowly and painfully saying goodbye to my mom. You see, she had
already won two battles against cancer, but she eventually lost the
war when it raged back viciously for a third time. The time we had
with her, after it was determined that treatment was not helping
and only making her feel worse, was longer than anyone expected.
She was one of the toughest women I've ever known and she showed
that until the very end.
As she spent her last weeks in hospice, I spent as
much time with her as I could, fearful that my mom and best friend
might spend her last moments alone. But I also knew that, being as
amazing of a grandmother as she was, she wouldn't have wanted my
boys to miss out on all of our favorite fall traditions - ones she
most often was a part of. So, in between stints at her bedside, I
put on the happiest face I could muster and did those fun things
which made us love fall so much. We went to the pumpkin farm, we
played in the leaves, and we simply tried to enjoy the days that my
mom no longer could.
Each year since my mom's passing, I find reasons to
smile while watching my boys enjoying the traditions I too love so
much. But there's an ache that accompanies those traditions because
they make me think of my mom and wish she was still with us. Some
of my favorite sights and smells take me back to the days when I
barely knew how to function because watching her suffer was more
painful than I can ever put into words, and I hurt
It's a weird thing, to feel joy and such pain at
the same time.
I know some people would probably avoid the things
that bring back the hard memories and I believe everyone has to
deal with their loss in their own way. But I try to focus on the
fact that I was blessed with 15 years with my mom after first
I take my moments to feel the pain of missing her,
then I pick myself up and I get out there and live life. Losing my
mom at what feels like an early age, and having had the fear of
losing her at an even younger age, reminds me that we aren't
promised tomorrow. There are no guarantees for another
So this month, and every month, I choose to find
the joy in the days I am given. I choose to honor the memory of my
amazing mother by taking the chances I have to make memories today
because we can never know for sure that we'll be here
Lisa is a full time working mom of three boys living in the far northern 'burbs.
See more of Lisa's stories here.
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