2020 was truly a year that will never be forgotten. On December 20, 2020, five days before Christmas, my mom received her Angel wings and rejoined her beloved husband of 45 years.
My mom, born to Prince Albert and Bertha Howard, was the oldest of eight children, the mother of five children and the grandmother of seven. Back in January after returning from a 21-day cruise through Asia my siblings were blindsided to learn my mom was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) that infiltrated her left breast. Leaning in to find the best medical team to support her journey, my siblings and I left no stone unturned.
Throughout, the next several months there were countless doctors visits and hospitalizations. There were days where I watched her in unbearable pain and discomfort. But, there were also welcomed days of laughter and the sharing of happy memories. Over the course of these twelve months I was able to connect with my mom in a more intimate way then I believe I had throughout my entire adulthood. I recognized the silver lining in the otherwise disheartening situation.
I celebrate my mom today as someone that if you meet her once you would certainly never forget. I could personally vouch for the fact that she’d be certain to remember to pray for you at least one, if not two, days out of the year. But, you also wouldn’t easily forget her uncanny ability to tell stories that weave seamlessly like a historical tapestry. She effortlessly could recount dates and events that she was a part of that many of us have only experienced through books, newspaper articles or documentaries.
I’m grateful for all she was able to teach me. Some of these lessons truly shaped the person I am in many ways. My mom was the first to recognize my artistic talent at the ripe age of 11. This gift made room for me and afforded me numerous awards and scholarship opportunities, a degree in Art, and for a short while, a blossoming commissioned art and mural business.
My mom was one to always live unapologetically out loud with her faith and her love for life. Though many times my mom and I had differing approaches on several things, one being politics, it’s likely that I got my preserving, tenacious, and at times, stubborn personality from her.
I’m thankful for all that my mom taught me. She was one to always see the bright side in a situation where sometimes I could not always relate. As I learn to adjust to life without her physical presence, I will look for opportunities to practice seeing the bright side. Thank you, Mom!
Your youngest daughter, Praise