This One’s for You, Mom

My mom passed away this past Saturday, February 21st. She was a few weeks shy of her 89th birthday.

To her dying day, I don’t think my mom completely understood what I did for a living. In the early days, she’d always ask: "How come the clients get their names in the paper and you don’t?” Of course, that scenario changed dramatically in recent years and seeing her pride in yet another personal, professional or agency success was a very cool thing indeed.

My mom didn’t go to college and couldn’t expound on the nuances of image or reputation. But, she based her life entirely on the health, well-being and success of her family. And, what better definition of image and reputation can one find? She was what you’d expect of all moms: kind, caring and compassionate. But, she could be tough as nails when the occasion called for it.

I have many fond memories of my mom. But, I think the one I’ll remember most occurred just recently.

Thirty years ago, I had just gotten into long distance running. I knew little about the sport and nothing about cross-training or nutrition. So, when I decided to run the Long Beach Island 18-mile "marathon,” I was woefully unprepared. I hit the wall often and early that day. The race was run along the length of Ocean Avenue in Long Beach Island and, in those days, there were few, if any, barriers separating the runners from the well wishers.

Seeing my obvious distress, my mom got my dad to drive the car right alongside me. As they did, she’d lean out the window and implore me to keep pushing. "It’s just five more miles," she’d yell. "Four more and you’re there," she’d scream. And, finally, "The finish line is just around the corner." I finished. But, it was only because of her constant, moral support. And, trust me, I was one hurting puppy afterwards.

Now, fast forward to this past October. Thirty years after running my first and only Long Beach Island Marathon, I’d entered my second one. This time, though, I was fully prepared for the physical, mental and emotional challenge.

And, guess who was there at the finish line in her portable wheelchair? My mom. Despite having suffered two broken hips, countless mini strokes and god knows how much heart and kidney damage, she was right there to root me on.

I knew she was near the end of her life. But, I cannot tell you how good it felt to sprint the final few yards of that race with her watching me. There are many things I’ll remember, but her smiling face on that crisp October afternoon is the one that meant the most to me.

17 thoughts on “This One’s for You, Mom

  1. Steve,
    Your post made me cry. What a beautiful tribute. I’ve always thought that moms were the original PR people–constant supporters, and relentless, proud promoters : ).

  2. What a wonderful memory, Steve. May it stay with you all the days of your life.

  3. Steve,
    My condolences to you and your family. The memory you shared is a beautiful one.

  4. I really appreciate everyone’s kind words. We held the memorial service for my mom today and there were lots of tears, laughs and great memories. Thanks guys.

  5. Steve,
    Thank you for sharing that with us.
    My mother died almost seven years ago, and while there’s still sadness, I mostly smile as I recall the many things that made her special.
    Please accept my condolences.

  6. My condolences to you and your family, Steve. May your mother’s soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life and may she rest in peace.

  7. Steve, each of us carries the legacy of our parents every day. The decisions we make, the people we help, the kindness we bestow on others reflect the lessons passed along to us by our mothers and fathers. In that way, others know our parents through each of us, good or bad. Knowing you I know your mom, and through your words I can see her smile, her courage, her love. Thank you for sharing those memories with us.

  8. I’m sorry about your loss, Steve. I bet she is proud of you in so many more ways than you can ever imagine, but especially your integrity. May the memories of her always bring you a smile.

  9. Sorry to hear about your loss. Some of my most special memories with my parents are from running too. Something about the experience sears it into your brain.

  10. Steve, I am sorry to hear of your loss. That was a great story about the runs and know that each day will be easier and the memories only become better with time.

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss, Repman. What a great way to honor your mom–awesome memory to share.

  12. Hold onto the memories, Steve. Count your blessings that you were raised in such a loving family. At least she is free of pain now.
    My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  13. Hold onto the memories, Steve. County your blessings that you were raised in such a loving family. May she be free of pain. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.