My mother passed away late on Monday, July 18th due to complications related to cancer. She battled cancer for nearly three years before it finally took her life. In honor of her, I wanted to write this short post. She was a wonderful woman, and I am grateful for the years I got to spend with her, even though it feels like they were too few. She died young, at the age of 53.
Cynthia Lou Adelman was a tenacious woman, with a competitive spirit and compassionate heart. She would challenge a 235-pound man to a leg wrestling competition (and win...), but she would also cry watching the atrocities she might see on the evening news. She was at times quiet and stoic, but she had a soft spot for animals of all kinds. Especially dogs. If my dad had not limited the number of animals in the home, she may have ended up on the news for being an animal hoarder... We took in more than one stray animal in my years growing up at home.
My mom raised three boys, and as my dad said earlier this week, "She was the perfect mom for boys." She was not afraid to put on a glove and throw the baseball around the yard or insert herself into the middle of some teenage roughhousing. At my high school wrestling matches, she would cheer loudly, as though she was right in the middle of the mat with me. But no matter the outcome of my sporting events or other competitions, she loved me the same. Win or lose, she was my mom, and that was not the least bit affected by my performance. She helped to raise three men - not an easy task.
An honest portrayal of my mom must also include what some might regard as a lack of propriety. She was honest, and she was not hindered by pretense. Some might say she was blunt - and I think that would be an accurate description. She might offend you one minute and then be your buddy the next. She didn't give a lot of concern to doing things just to keep up appearances and she wasn't interested in impressing others for the sake of their approval. It might have turned people off at times, but if you spent enough time with her, you were pretty sure to find out what she thought. Good, bad or otherwise, she made her opinion known.
She was a wonderful woman, who sacrificed for her family and those she loved. I am grateful for her strong will and soft heart. There is much to celebrate, but her life was not without its challenges. Getting cancer in her early fifties and having to leave behind so many loved ones was hard on her. Knowing that she would have grandkids who might barely remember her, and others whom she may never meet. Leaving behind my dad, her husband of nearly 34 years was a struggle. Adding to her cancer, my sister Jessica's death was always heavy on her heart. It was almost 20 years ago now, but the memory of Jessica was often on my mom's mind. Further, adding the death of her own mom to cancer, my mom's life was not without its trials.
My mom had her internal demons. She had difficulties and challenges. If you knew her well, she may have shared some of them with you. She, like many of us, struggled to embrace the forgiveness and grace of God. She knew her faults. She knew her pains. "How could a good God love her?" she might ask. She and I had many conversations about God and His love. Like the main character in Bunyan's classic, she was a pilgrim in this world. She was on a journey, one which took twists and turns, with struggles and joys. It came with its pains and also its pleasures. I am glad that the suffering of the cancer is over now, and that she can see clearly the love and grace of God, which she always struggled to believe for herself.
We will miss her here on earth, and we will not forget her. We will tell stories of her and celebrate the years we had with her. I will always remember the time she, James and I were out on Lake of the Woods, catching our limit of walleyes. They were coming into the fish house so fast, we had to call my older brother to come join us. Once Joe got there, we had to deliver the news that we had already caught his limit too, but that we would be grateful to ride home with him, so we could keep the legal ratio between humans and fish. We will tell of the time she got hit by someone driving a 4-wheeler and how she took it like a champ. We will tell of the dogs she owned, her love for her grandchildren and her tenacious attitude toward life. We will tell of the hard times too because they are also part of my mom's life. My mom will be missed by many. I am grateful for the 31 years we got to spend together on earth. We love you, mom