My mother is the dearest woman I know. My dad has called her a saint for as long as I can remember. The older I get, the more correct I know him to be in this assessment of her.
My mom grew up in Detroit surrounded by love. Her mom, a widow since my mom was 7, was a strong Irish Catholic woman who took care of everyone around her. She helped raise her 8 siblings, she raised her own family and she raised her brother's five children after he and his wife tragically died two years apart.
My mother witnessed all of this and became the same kind of care giver. She is a nurse and in her last job before retirement she worked in hospice. She is entirely suited for the role of caring for the dying and their families. She raised the seven of us, and showed us great faith in every aspect of her life. The depth of her faith became even more evident after the death of our brother. Never once did I hear a negative word come out of her mouth. She comforted and supported each of us as we mourned in our own way. If possible, her faith grew ever more deep.
Until recently she attended Mass daily and gets there as often as she can these days. She prays for us constantly and taught us to trust the Lord in all things by her firm, but gentle manner.
She has taken care of sick neighbors, often sitting by an open window in our home so she could hear if the next door neighbor needed help. She visited the homebound and delivered food with the Meals on Wheels program.
She never puts herself first as we are witnessing as we help her care for our dad. One big example of this is the $5 she slipped to my brother the other day, so he could tip the valet when he and I were leaving the hospital during an ER visit with my dad.
She is heroic in her efforts to keep my dad peaceful and content (and right now that's a pretty big challenge for all of us.) She has a peaceful countenance and a ready smile. And always, she is concerned for our needs.
Those who know her will be nodding and agreeing as they read this.
I love you mom! You are my rock!