Driving to the Cape early this morning, it was hard to keep my eyes open amidst the dark, rainy weather pelting the SUV as we hummed along RT 495. Luckily, responsible Emma was driving, happily listening to her music thus there was no risk of veering off the road. As I closed my eyes and listened, a refrain from a country song I was not familiar with caught my attention. The deep male voice sang something about being humble and kind and how that is the best way to live. Immediately my mind turned to Mom – of course – and the memories flooded in.
By the time we arrived at Christ the King parish to meet my dad, sister and niece for Mass, all I could think about was Mom and how these two words described the very essence of her being. As a mother, Joan was the epitome of humble. She sought to be last, so others could be first. She lived this in everything from serving dinner to her family before taking her own, to bringing her beloved husband his first cup of coffee in the morning. These small loving acts made her happy because they made others happy. Mom never sought attention or acknowledgement for good deeds; she knew that her reward was in heaven.
After Mom was diagnosed with cancer, the only time I saw her outwardly troubled was the day we visited the Dana Farber Friends shop to get fitted for a wig. On Tuesday, August 30, 2013 , I wrote: “When mom and I walked in, I could tell she was exhausted and not really in the mood for this. After trying on at least 8 wigs, mom decided on a cute blond one that really complimented her face. I think losing her hair is one of the hardest parts for mom because she does not want anyone to feel sorry for her. She wants to feel normal, look normal and be normal, living the life she has known.” Looking back, I see her humility shine through – she didn’t want to be viewed as sick thus treated differently by anyone. She wanted to keep being Nona, Mom, Joanie – a woman who volunteered, took care of others and lived a full life. You know what? She did.
Mom CHOSE to live joyfully and humbly during her entire life, right up until the moment our Lord called her home. I am sure it was not always easy. I am sure she had difficult days before and during the cancer. But her faith sustained her and her humble spirit allowed her to put her trust in God who makes all things possible. This is a lesson for me and so many of us who tend to let our pride get in the way. When this happens, the result is usually disappointing.
So today I will choose to follow Mom’s example, and like the country song reminds us, be humble and kind. With God’s grace, I will be a little more like Joanie.