I remember as a child, I was always scared of being alone as it was just the two of us. I always said to her…”don’t ever leave me.” She always promised that she’d be with me.
I was 20 years old when she died.
This week’s Remembering Mom post was written by a close friend of mine. I hope you enjoy it.
Joyce Hylary Pitter
As a child, she was my world. I didn’t grow up with any siblings and she was the only parent in my life. She meant everything to me.
My mum had a very kind and gentle nature. She was very soft-spoken and caring but inside a very strong and determined woman as she faced so many obstacles in her life.
From her late 20’s, she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis which took a toll on her body. In later years, this brought on several other ailments, but in spite of her weak body, she was the strongest person I knew.
I don’t know how she did it, raising a child and running a school all on her own.
I remember my Grandma and my Aunt telling me stories about my mum when she was a little girl and how she’d line up her dolls and pretend to teach them. She was born to be a teacher.
She later became the principal of her school. I remember watching her interact with the kids and how much she cared about each and every one of them. In the small island of Antigua where I grew up, so many people knew and loved my mum, and appreciated the positive impact that she had on her students.
When I was a teenager, she would work full days, come home to have dinner with me, and then head off to spend time with a couple of little boys who needed some care and support. I’m honoured to say that my mum was that person. She was just amazing.
I remember us participating in a garage sale when I was around 17 and selling our items out of the trunk of her car. The plan was to put the money we had made towards something that we needed. We had so much fun and by afternoon, our plans had changed. After the garage sale we took that money and treated ourselves to a fabulous meal at a restaurant instead!
My mum and I shared a love for good food.
We enjoyed going out to try different restaurants and I loved coming home from university to find that she had cooked one of my favourite meals. She was a great cook.
I often came home to spend weekends with her. On one particular Sunday, I remember sitting and working on a puzzle of her favourite movie. Sitting, chatting, eating and laughing the whole afternoon and enjoying the time with her.
Before I knew it, it was time to head back to school. I jumped up to pack my things, while she continued with the puzzle. When I came out to give goodbye hugs, Mum said to me, “Come on, just stay a bit longer and finish this with me…it’s almost done.” I did, even though it was late. I remember her being so happy.
When it was time to go, we hugged and I rushed out the door saying goodbye and see you soon. She died two weeks later.
I’m so glad that I stayed to finish the puzzle that night.
I think of her every April 4th. She was only 46. She had the prettiest green eyes.
There have been so many moments in my life that I have deeply missed her and wished she was by my side: special birthdays, my wedding day, the day I followed her path and became a teacher, the births of my 2 children, and many others.
Her love as a mother was the deepest and most genuine. My one hope is that my boys will know this same love from me.
I loved how she made me feel. I miss her so much.
Writer’s Note: This piece was written by Joyce’s daughter, Nika. Nika and I met around 10 years ago when we began teaching at the same school. We have been friends ever since. She even made the trek to Northwestern Ontario to be in my wedding party. Although I didn’t get to meet her mom, I’ve always thought that she was an incredible woman. As a single mom, she left everyone she knew, family and friends in Antigua, so Nika could have a good education in Canada. Naturally when I thought of someone to write about their mom, I immediately thought of Nika.
Thank you for writing about her, Nika. You described her beautifully. You’re an incredible mom to your boys. She would be so proud of you.
Please take a moment to leave a comment or to click ‘like’ to let Nika know that you enjoyed her writing! Thank you!