When I was a child, my mom would place her chin on top of my head as she hugged me.
She was 5-3.
She enjoyed it.
She knew the day I would return the ‘favor’ wasn’t far away.
When it arrived, she forever became my ‘Shorty.’ Or any variation that came through the years … ‘Shortstack’, ‘Shorts’, ‘Too-Short’, etc., as I placed my chin on her head as I hugged her.
On Feb. 20th, her 67th birthday, my ‘Shorty’ passed away after a seven-month fight with liver cancer.
I call her that now, even knowing I could never stand as tall as she did in her final months. Or as courageously or inspirationally as she did.
Everyone deserves to share their mom’s story, her love, her life. In having the platform to do so with PrepVolleyball.com, I wanted to tell of something I hope can inspire.
Not only athletically. Also in life.
It was last January when my mom initially had a tumor removed from her liver. Then, in late July – seven days before my mom was set to retire – we learned the cancer had returned, and aggressively.
By late October it was clear there was nothing left for the doctors to do.
Though the end was nearing, I wouldn’t have left home to cover the Triple Crown Sports Pre-Season Triple Crown Sports in Salt Lake City if I thought it was here. Learning of my mom’s passing was both a surprise and not a surprise.
I immediately returned home and Tuesday I was going through some of her things when I came across this in one of her notebooks:
Here it is, the final weeks of her life and my mom is still setting goals for herself – and accomplishing them.
With my mom’s spirit setting the tone through these past months, we didn’t question why this was happening. We didn’t wallow in sorrow, wishing things were different. We focused on doing what there was to do, what we could do.
For my mom, it meant as her body was failing her, she was not.
As young athletes, goals are important.
Let’s finish so high in our region, earn an Open bid, finish in the Top 8 at Junior Nationals. Whatever they may be, they are set and sought after.
We hear that athletics is a vehicle to the real world. What we learn in sports can carry us in life.
My mom was not overly athletic. Played some tennis for fun. Skied on snow, on water. Mostly all of it before I came along.
Whether she picked up on these values through sports or just good-old Midwest blood and upbringing, until the end she was focused on what she could do. The cans. Not the cant’s.
Set out to achieve.
When I found her list, I broke down.
How many of us would do the same facing similarly dire circumstances?
My mom’s love always engulfed me, will always.
I’ll always miss my ‘Shorty.’
My true inspiration, role model, hero.
If I can be anything like you … that’s my greatest goal left to achieve.