February 22 will always be a difficult day for me. It was 20 years ago today that my mom, Fe Reyes, passed away after a decade long battle with cancer. I can remember it so vividly. I’m just thankful I was on my high school mid-winter break and I was able to say my goodbyes. I was 18 when she died. If you think about it, that’s not a long time to have with a parent. Instead of thinking about what I missed, I wanted to share with you the things that I remember about this wonderful woman I called “mom.”
Growing up I remember how much she loved and cared for me. She actively participated in all my activities…showing up at my soccer games as a kid, “encouraging” me to take piano lessons (I fought that and lost but am glad I learned), playing tennis, encouraging me to learn how to ski. She pushed me to learn. She pushed me to achieve success. We had fun! Mom also valued the importance of education and getting good grades. She would sit with me when I had homework and make sure that I got it and got it right. There was not a doubt in my mind that she loved me and would do everything in her power to make sure she raised a good son.
As I moved into my teens, that’s when I began to realize all the doctors visits were more than just routine. Throughout the ages of 8-18, she had 3 major surgeries, some minor surgeries, rounds of chemo and radiation. I learned about cancer at a young age and kind of knew this was going to be a battle. And it was a battle mom was willing to fight. I always saw her determination in wanting to fight this and survive. That is thing I most remember and not the suffering through chemotherapy or the recovery from the surgeries. She fought and fought even to the end. In late 1989, I remember the doctors saying she had until November. She survived through February 22, 1990. The doctors were amazed at her spirit.
I share all of this with you because this year it’s different. I’ve thought about her passing more today than I have in recent years. I’ll never forget the lives she touched. It was evident at her funeral with the number of people that should up to pay their respects. I was so proud to be her son.
That’s what I wanted to share with you today. You now have a glimpse of what has made me into the husband, father and friend I try to be. It certainly helps that I have a Father in God that gave me the strength to be able to grow into the man I am today.
I miss you mom.