On November 26, 2019, my world was rocked. My mother was taken home to be with Jesus. This was my tribute to her. It was read at her funeral.
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (Proverbs 31:28-29 NLT)
We met when she was 21. She was an ordinary person, but her smile would warm up the coldest day. She loved chocolate, ice cream, black coffee, and making things with her hands. She always made time to listen and help others.
She knew nothing about Cerebral Palsy, but she was willing to learn. She pushed me to work hard, but at the same time, she accepted my limitations and loved me for who I was. When the world told me I could not succeed, she told me to try. Mom would not let me use the words, “I can’t.” She made me try everything at least once. Sometimes her friends would get upset with her because she wouldn’t help me, but her perseverance made me who I am today.
Even before my sports career began, she was my biggest cheerleader! She was always encouraging and pushing me to go further. Even my staff gets frustrated with me because they want to help me, but because of my mom, I am determined to do things on my own as much as I possibly can.
She took me to Pioneer Girls at our church. I loved to earn badges, but I was concerned I could not get my hiking badge. But she made sure I could by carrying me on her back through the woods with the other girls. Then I had to light a fire to finish the badge. The other leaders said not to worry about lighting the fire, but Mom insisted that I would do it if I wanted to complete the requirements. She got me to hold the match in my front teeth and brought the box up close so I could strike it. Then I leaned down, dropping the match on the paper and the fire was lit.
Mom looked after me every day for the first 25 years of my life: getting me up and dressed every morning, bathing me, feeding me, getting me ready for bed. She could not call in sick. The doctors told her to give me up and put me in an institution, but she would not.
Mom had a sense of humour. She wanted me to experience life. One morning when she was getting me out of bed (I am not a morning person), she sat me on the toilet with the seat up, which resulted in me plunging into the cold water, waking me up rather abruptly. When I looked at her with a questioning shocked look, she just laughed and said, “I just thought you should experience this!”
Mom travelled to many of my sports events. The biggest event was the 1984 Paralympics in New York, where she proudly carried around the Canadian Flag. During the wheelchair soccer game that I was playing in, she was interviewed on TSN. To this day, I don’t know what she said, but that interview was a highlight of this trip for her.
On Tuesday God called Mom home. She has left a big hole in our family and in my heart, but I know she is with her Saviour and Lord.
Thanks, Mom. You’re the best! See you soon.