In 2011, I began a journey back to health by attending Movara. I was sixty pounds overweight, had not worked out in twenty years, and worked eighty hours a week. At Movara, I found a family of like-minded people and discovered a deep love of hiking. In 2016-2017, I completed a life goal of climbing 52 Peaks in 52 Weeks in 6 continents, 19 countries, and 27 states.
Several times during the year, my mother joined me on my adventure. In Ireland, my mother handed me a hat that she had brought me from home. It had a cancer ribbon on it. I knew what it meant immediately. I knew my mother had decided to tell me in this way because looking at me and saying the words “I have cancer” would be too difficult.
My mother had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer and had undergone surgery the previous February. They caught it very early and she didn’t have to have radiation or chemotherapy. A year later, she is cancer-free and thriving.
My mother found out she had cancer in the middle of my doing 52 Peaks. She decided not to tell me because she knew that I would stop my journey to be with her. She would have been right. Because she did not tell me, she also did not tell either of my brothers.
My mom was well taken care of by my aunts, but she went through this terrifying experience without any of her children knowing or being with her. I can’t imagine that kind of courage or selflessness. Such actions epitomize my mother, so I should not be surprised. Yet, still I am in awe because I know I would not have had the strength to make the same choice.
The best gift that I have received in life is my family. I have been truly fortunate all my days. I knew my mother was strong, courageous, and selfless, but I had no idea to what extremes she lives these values until this past year. I am truly lucky to have her as my friend and travel companion. I appreciate her even more each time she laughs and for each memory I get to share with her.
My mother is a true hero. While she was battling cancer, she met her weight loss to meet her goal of losing one pound for each of my 52 Peaks. This past April, she joined me at Movara for a week, did every class, and got her bracelet. Climbing a mountain is easy compared to what my mother has done. I am lucky beyond words to have her genetics in my bones and I am smart enough to live my life trying to follow her example. The world would truly be a different place if we had more heroes like my mom.
Happy Mother’s Day. Namaste.