My mother, my best friend, died of cancer on March 24, 2007. Some dates of significance related to her remind me of especially happy times, while others make me feel her loss more keenly.
For example, six months to the day after she died, I began working as a staff attorney for Life Span, providing legal services to victims and survivors of domestic violence. I remain confident that my mother was looking out for me when I was offered this position.
Mother’s Day is always particularly difficult. Yet every year since I lost my mom, instead of a wave or a handshake, I have received a Mother’s Day hug during church services from the mother of one of my childhood friends, a woman who was never known for being especially warm.
I share this because I have learned in recent years that our support, our example, our strength often comes from unexpected quarters.
For most of my life, my mother was all of these, and more. At the age of 26, my mother had two-year-old and six-month-old daughters (me and my sister), and a husband who was paralyzed on the left side of his body as a result of a brain tumor. With the support of family and friends, she survived my biological father’s illness and death, and guided her daughters through that loss. She went back to college, worked part-time, and volunteered in the community. Several years later, she met and married my dad, gave birth to my brother, and created a family such that the word “step” was never used in our household.
Today, I have the opportunity to thank the members of this committee for your support, your example, your challenge and your dedication. Thank you for your contributions to this remarkable newsletter, for your thoughtful commentary to proposed Illinois legislation, for your support of our team in the Lawyers Feeding Illinois challenge, for your willingness to share time and talent in our CLE and cable television programming and Women Everywhere efforts. ■