Over the last few weeks, friends and family have done amazing things to help keep my mother’s memory alive. Saturday June 16th, 2012 would have been Ariel Elizabeth Scott Willever’s 66th birthday, but because of a brain tumor, she only lived to be 52. We all still miss her so much.
Recently, my brother-in-law’s sister, Jennifer, and her daughter, Arin, participated in an American Cancer Society Relay for Life, honoring my mother. My mother died before my sister married Jennifer’s brother, and she died before Arin was even born, but she considered Brian and his family already a part of of our family, even if the wedding ceremony hadn’t happened yet. My mom was so excited when my sister showed her ultrasound pictures of Jennifer’s first daughter, Maxine. Maxine’s birth was something hopeful to anticipate when cancer made everything hard. 14 years later, Jennifer and Arin walked to celebrate my mom’s life. Here’s a picture of the luminaria they dedicated to her.
My mother’s cousin Betsy signed up to participate in Swim Across America again this year, and she’s swimming to honor a growing group of angels, including my mom and my aunt, Missy. Betsy started a team of swimmers to fundraise for cancer research, and my childhood friend Cathy (who had never met Betsy in person) signed up to swim on Betsy’s team! They call themselves the Estro-Jets. Now I hear that my aunt Toni, my mom’s sister-in-law, might join them. All these loving, incredible women coming together? I absolutely love it! I think my mom would be so proud of them all and so grateful that they cite her as their inspiration for doing amazing things. I hope they laugh together until they almost pee the pool; my mom would have gotten a big kick out of that.
Thank you to all the people who share memories of my mom, who listen to my stories about her, and who help me keep my memories of her alive. You help me grieve, and you help me celebrate my mother on her birthday and every day.
Happy birthday, Mommy! I’ll always love you. I’ll have some cake for you, appreciate a dogwood tree, laugh until it hurts, be silly, walk by the water, and try to do something nice for someone on your birthday. And I’ll try to live every day so you would be proud of me. I think you’d like that.