Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

Another Mother’s Day without you, and the first one for us without Dad.  I hope he is treating you to a special Mother’s Day, and maybe even taking you to Kelly’s…hmmmmm hmmmm.

Happy Grandmom
Grandmom with a future Temple graduate

Mom, you are missed every day, and I especially missed you and Dad this week.  Johnny graduated from Temple, and I was so proud of what he accomplished during his four years.  It was the type of day that you and Dad cherished, seeing your Grandkids doing well and your kids beaming with pride.  And though you weren’t there with us on Broad Street, you were certainly there in our hearts.  We absolutely felt you there.

You were a Mom for over fifty years, and we all learned so much from you.  You taught us how to care by caring for Dad and the six of us every day.  You taught us how to love by how you raised us, and how you treated everyone.  You taught us how to dislike one thing (it’s OK since it was the Dallas Cowboys) and I am convinced you helped Green Bay beat them in the playoffs last year.  And you taught us how to live with grace and dignity, especially when you were sick and dying of lung cancer.

You and Dad also taught us how to give back, and it is part of the reason I will get on a bike and go cross country for you and all lung cancer patients in 102 days.  I am also going because I promised you, and me, that I would do something about lung cancer.  I am still not sure how I landed on a cross country bike ride, but that’s for another day.

I don’t how something so damn obvious isn’t so damn obvious.  Lung cancer kills more people in every state and every ethnic group than any cancer.  It kills more men, it kills more women, has a low 5-year survival rate and is poorly funded.  I know you know that, I know you felt the stigma of being a lung cancer patient, and so on a bike, I will go.

Mom, you would be so proud that many hands are helping me every day.  And today, more than ever, there are so many people fighting for lung cancer.  They are making progress, especially the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Lung Cancer Alliance.

Mom and Bonnie
Mom and Bonnie at the BJALCF 5K in Philadelphia in 2011

You met Bonnie and that meeting has turned into a deep friendship for our entire family.  Dad met Laurie Fenton from Lung Cancer Alliance (yes, Dad did walk up and gave her a piece of hard candy while she was speaking at a conference – she had a scratch in her throat and that’s Dad) and they too are deeply committed to helping lung cancer patients.

I will ride another three and a half hours today, for you, and I will think of the pool

50th wedding anniversary - 6 kids
Mom and Dad with their “Six Wonderful Kids”

parties, the Sunday roast, playing for Summerdale, the times in Wildwood and many more things from our childhood that are with me to this day.  I will remember how you called us your “Six Wonderful Kids“, even though SOME of us didn’t always deserve it.  And I believed growing up that I lived in the best place in the world.  Looking back, I know I was right.  Right there with you, Dad, Bob, Dan, Tom, Pat and Karen on Miriam Road, and then Cowden Street.

So, Happy Mother’s Day, Mammy.  I will see you later today, shed a few more tears and thank the lucky stars that I was raised by such an Amazing Mom.


John Joseph

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