This past weekend we attended an epic celebration in honour of my mom who was named Toronto’s Mayo Person of the Year.  As I watched her friends gather at the banquet tables, her family who flew in from Ireland, and her grandkids putting on an Irish dance show on the floor, I thought to myself, “Isn’t it grand when we gather together for good reasons?”  

The speeches about travelling across oceans and missing family back home made me think about how hard life can be but also how rewarding it can be when we face those challenges and walk through them.

So many people came up to me that evening and said, “Your mother is such a lovely woman.  She deserves every accolade tonight.”

It made me so proud and brought back memories of all the times my mom would tell me growing up that she was saying a prayer for someone, or baking an Irish soda bread for a family or making up a basket for a fundraising raffle.  I remember her knitting slippers for our teachers every Christmas and coming home with her brown-bag lunch from her nursing shift because she never got a chance to take a break.

Over the past four years she battled colon cancer twice with fearless tenacity and a contagious positive attitude.  For every appointment she used the motto, “Get up, dress up, show up and never give up.”  She is an inspiration and she taught me that tomorrow is another day.

As actor John Wayne once said, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

I have learned from my mother that anything is possible if you believe in yourself beyond reason.  If you are brave and kind.  I hope I have learned enough to be half the mom, grandma and friend that my mother is today and every day.