I lost my mom to stomach cancer back in 1978 when I was 27. She got what she thought was the flu, and four months later she was dead. It took me more than 30 years before I could work up the guts to visit her grave.
My mom was the typical 1950s and ’60s stay-at-home mom who baked cookies and cakes that were ready when we got home from school. She helped me write fan letters to the Rocket and other Montreal Canadien players, and her and I would often listen boxing matches on the radio at the kitchen table, including fights that featured a young fellow named Cassius Clay.
And together, one morning before school, we heard the Orillia announcer mention for the first time a brand new group from Liverpool.
She made sure there were always lots of Christmas presents under the tree, presents that were bought on department store credit that my dad had no idea about until after she died. And my dad, who’s also gone now, once told me about the time when I was very young and as we drove by the arena, I said “Hey, there’s the fucking arena!” My mom was very understanding and gentle as she explained to me about the bad word.
It was the only time I ever swore in front of my parents, and they never saw me smoke either as I grew into my teens and early adulthood.
She went to my hockey and baseball games, listened politely when I played her my new Bob Dylan albums, she liked my long hair and weird clothes, and she understood more than anyone about my restless feet. My friends loved her and she loved them, especially if they made her laugh.
This was a lady who didn’t have a problem with the wild 1960s, even though she was born in 1924 and grew up in a much different world. I was very proud of her.
If your mom is still alive and you love her, maybe you should tell her so. I’d give anything to say it now to my mom.