Giving Mother’s Day a whole new meaning

May 6, 2014

By David Hayes

Mother’s Day isn’t until May 11, but I celebrated a little early last week with my mom.

Although she lives just a little less than 300 miles south, as the crow flies to Oregon, it proves to be just far enough that I only take the occasional visit.

No longer.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes
Press reporter

I plan to make her a regular entry on my social calendar.

See, she’s been living alone for the past year after my dad died of multiple myeloma cancer. But with her large group of lady friends and my brother just under an hour away further south, she’s never wanting for things to do.

That changed last month, when it seems the cancer gene that runs in her family, that had claimed an older brother and a younger sister, finally caught up with her. At age 74, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

This woman — who is my “Rock of Gibraltar;” who I could never beat at thumb wrestling; who had the courage to be the first in the passenger seat after I got my driver’s permit; who, as a youth, used to have contests with her brothers of “chicken” by tossing knives at each others’ feet; who, after a bicycle wreck that could have permanently left her unable to walk, was one week later scrubbing the kitchen floor by hand — suddenly she was a frail senior citizen for whom I had to drop everything and devote my full attention.

I couldn’t be there the week she went in for a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. I thank the ladies in her social group and my little sister who flew in from the East Coast to be there.

Our longtime sports editor Bob Taylor, who succumbed to ill health due to cancer in 2012, used to claim the power of prayer kept him going strong for the many years of his battle. It seems to have again proven true in my mom’s case.

The cancer was caught early and was just stage two. And the surgery to remove it was not only successful, it finished two hours quicker than anticipated and no further treatments are needed. Although estrogen blockers are being considered, and because it’s a gene that runs in the family, her ovaries may have to go. But that’s a hurdle for another day.

So, there I was last week, essentially the hired help, handling all the things she couldn’t. After having put up with me for 45 years, it was my turn to return the favor. Just about the only disappointment from the visit was being unable to exhibit my cooking prowess (I even brought some of my favorite cookbooks for her to choose from). Her post-op appetite just hadn’t returned yet.

But I will be returning, often, making up for lost time, proving to her why she’s been so special to me that they were kind enough to set aside one day a year to honor her.


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