Mother's lessons won't be forgotten
Jan. 4, 2017 at 11:18 p.m.
Updated Jan. 5, 2017 at 6:18 a.m.
I confess there have been times when I've been tempted to mail in a story.
Maybe I'm bored, tired or have other things on my mind.
How easy would it be to quickly type something up and turn it in.
But whenever the thought arises a voice comes into my mind.
I hear my mother, Marian, saying, "If you're going to do something, you should do it well."
Granted, she said those words when I was in grammar school trying to avoid doing homework.
But her advice stuck with me and I'm grateful.
I thought about how many ways my mother influenced me after my brother called Monday night while my wife, Denise, and I were watching and looking for my son, Ethan, who recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma, at the Sugar Bowl, and told me she had died.
My mother had a stroke in May and never really recovered, although she tried.
Ethan and I went to San Francisco in June to visit her and she seemed to be making progress in her therapy.
But after living independently and working up to the day of her stroke, I could tell how frustrated and unhappy she was.
She had been moved to hospice care last week and I had reservations to fly out Saturday, but obviously that was too late.
Fortunately, my brothers, Rick and Bruce, were by her side when she passed away.
I spoke to her last week and told her how much I loved her and how thankful I was for everything she had done for me, but I'm not really sure if she understood.
There is no doubt I will miss her tremendously, but she lived a good life for most of her 85 years.
My parents were divorced when I was in high school and I know it wasn't easy for her having three sons in the house.
She stuck around Dallas until I was a freshman at SMU before moving to California, which made it tough for me to see her as much as she would have liked.
She was happy when I went to graduate school at UCLA, which allowed me to drive up and see her during holidays.
But I eventually came back to Texas and we didn't see each other that often.
My mother was tough enough to survive lung cancer, but caring enough to send a check on my birthday and holidays.
I'm fortunate to have some of the dog portraits she painted in the studio she rented, where she always made sure to feed the stray cats.
She loved jazz - and enjoyed watching my brother Bruce play guitar - and would meet up with friends at a jazz club almost every Sunday night.
She worked three to four days a week and kept busy when she wasn't on the job.
The last visit I made before she had the stroke was in July of 2014.
She took Ethan and me down the coast on Highway 1 to Morro Bay where we met up with our cousin, Debbie Stevens.
I borrowed a wet suit and Boogie boarded at the beach in Cayucos, and we somehow managed to get Debbie's huge dog in the car.
My mother and I would almost always talk by phone on Sundays, but in the past year she began calling two or three times a week.
I knew she was upset because she had been forced to move into a much smaller place when her previous landlord sold her apartment.
But I think maybe she sensed something wasn't right and just wanted to talk to me as much as possible.
I'll never forget the day Rick called and said she had suffered the stroke.
But what I'll remember most about my mother are the valuable lessons she taught.
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.