My story is not unique in that I get my love of reading from my mother. I mean where else do you learn to read if not at home from your parents? But I can never remember a time when my mother did not have a book going. Her bedside table and bookshelves were filled with them; she had a long standing membership to a Book of the Month club where she ordered books out of a paper catalog; she made sure that my sisters and I all had bookshelves filled with Nancy Drew books when we were children.
She passed away in 2007 after a three year battle with cancer. My story is not unique in that sense either. Unfortunately, I think we have all been touch by cancer in one way or another. I remember helping my mom pack her suitcase for what was to be her last trip to the hospital, although I didn’t know that at the time. My dad and her were headed up to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to seek the help of a specialist. I remember having a brief conversation about packing her current read in the suitcase. She said “sure, I doubt if I’ll get much reading done, but pack it just in case.”
A few days later, my dad and her were on the way home, after being told there was nothing left that could be done. Essentially, she was to go home to die peacefully there, and pass away she did a few days later surrounded by my dad, and her three daughters. After she passed away, I unpacked her suitcase from the hospital and held that book in my hands, “I Heard That Song Before” by Mary Higgins Clark, with the bookmark stuck in at 84 pages till the end. I always found it incredibly sad that she never finished the book. Out of all the things I could be sad about – all the things that would happen in the future that she would not be there to share with us, important things like the purchase of my first house on my own, future weddings and births – I still found it incredibly sad that she left this earth without knowing the ending to one of the mystery books by one of her favorite authors.
I still have that book, one of my most prized possessions, with the book mark still in the place where she left it. I pull it out from time to time to think about her. I would like to think she’d be incredibly proud that I’m still reading as furiously as I did as a child and that I now have my own blog where I share my love, our love, of reading with other readers. With my one year blog anniversary coming up next month, this blog post is for you, mom.