Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Years and Passing

I know many of you have seen me post this picture of my mom before, but this particular pic captured one of my favorite moments with her so perfectly. We were so happy and had such a great time in California.

It's hard to believe my mom passed away two years ago today. She lost a three month battle with breast cancer. Everyone told me the pain would be easier to bear, but truth be told, there is still not a single day that goes by that she isn't in my thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sitting for hours on end in the depths of despair, but I do think about her every day, even if only for a moment or two. 

My mom was the strongest woman I knew. In fact, my sister and I used to tell her that she was one tough bitch. lol When she passed, there was no funeral because the last thing the woman desired to be was mourned. Instead, she wanted everyone to celebrate her life. She was a class act up until the end. Many years ago, our elderly neighbor had passed away and his family held a good old-fashioned Irish wake. Although we weren't Irish, that was my mom's wish. How could we possibly refuse such a request?

We threw her a "Celebration of Life" party. Pictures of my mom's life played on a big screen, Motown (Mom's favorite) played in the background, and we knew she would've been proud. We had her friends and family come up to a podium and tell their favorite stories and memories of her.

I thought posting the speech I had written for her party would be fitting for today. 

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Although I feel a tremendous loss upon the death of my mother, I am thankful that she lived to see her daughter's marry, have children of their own, and she had an opportunity to know her grandchildren. My mom was here for every major event in my life, except one.

As most of you already know, my first novel will be released in September. Even though Mom passed away before she was able to share this new adventure with me, I am comforted by the fact that she read my first two bookswhich leads me to an interesting story.

For anyone who knew my mom, the woman was a fan of suspense and mystery-related works. You know, anything from Stephen King to James Patterson. Needless to say, she was not a fan of romance novels. In fact, if one of her favorite authors wrote something remotely close to a scene of an intimate nature, everyone knew Mom paged through the book until she cleared the pages of passion. She'd often say, "I get it. Move on."

When I e-mailed her my first manuscript to read, she called me four hours later and the phone call was sort of like this.

"I finished your manuscript."

There was a heavy silence.

"Once I got through all the romance crap, I could not put it down. Dad came home and I even told him to be quiet until I was done reading it. I have no idea how you did it and kept everything straight. I really enjoyed it. Oh, and I even read the 'intimate' scenes and did not have to page ahead. It was really well-written. You tell a good story."

Now after Mom read my second novel, the conversation was a little different. You see, my hero was a complete rogue who had been known to share many a bed. Mom proceeded to tell me that one of my scenes needed beefed up because if my hero was that much of a rogue, he should be able to go all night long. After I stopped laughing, she went on to say that she'd like me to change the fate of my heroine's mother because she couldn't stand her. I believe Mom's words were something like "she needed to get what was coming to her."

Mom was so incredibly proud of me for this new adventure. On the last day she was fully conscious and lying in the hospital bed, I tried to convince her not to leave us. As any selfish daughter would do, I tried to say anything to keep her here and blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"You can't leave. You promised you'd be here for my book signing," I said, tears welling in my eyes.

She reached over the rails of the hospital bed and grabbed both my hands. "I will be there. I promise. Always."

I knew she meant in spirit form and Mom was so feisty that I knew she'd be there, too. There are really no words that can accurately portray how I feel about losing my mom. I do know that a part of her will always live in me, pushing me to be better. It is with a heavy heart that the ones left behind must continue to live, but Mom would expect nothing less. She wanted her life to be celebrated and not mourned. She wanted a party and not a funeral. And she wanted everyone to remember her with a gentle fondness and to be able to give her a heartfelt goodbye.

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In loving memory of Rita L. Spak, an autographed copy of X Marks the Scot (Mom's favorite bad boy) and a Bad Boys of the Highlands t-shirt is up for grabs to one lucky commenter. Winner will be chosen on Friday, February 28th.

What's the funniest thing your mother ever did or said? My mom and I had a food fight with Boston Cream pie.