10 Memories – Why I’m Running for Mom


running for mom

I find posts like this one difficult to write. Not simply from an emotional perspective, but also because it’s hard to tell personal stories in a way that make sense for other people, and so they don’t come off as too self-centred. Some writers are very adept at this, and I don’t know if I’m one of them.

Today – March 8 – was my Mom’s birthday. She would have been 81. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to celebrate the milestone 80th birthday either. But now that her birthday has come around again, I can’t help but think back on who she was and why I miss her so much.


So I’m just going to tell you a few things about my mom.

  1. I love that her birthday coincides with International Women’s Day. Mom believed that everyone should have a voice, and stood up for people who didn’t – or couldn’t – speak up for themselves. She would never have considered herself a crusader, but she really looked out for others.
  2. She made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing fancy – just the simplest of comfort foods to fill you up. And she would always serve them with bread & butter pickles – no dill for Mom! She also made poached eggs on toast, but she’d cut the toast into little squares before putting the egg on top so it was bite-sized already.
  3. She always insisted on doing my laundry when I was home – and never put anything in the dryer. In the summer, she’d lug everything out to the clothesline in the backyard because it made the laundry smell better.
  4. When I was feeling sick, she’d sit on my bed and rub my back – or my belly if I had a tummy ache.
  5. Because she talked so much, she was always the last person to finish a meal. She didn’t care much for dessert, but would go back for first course if she could! She wouldn’t let servers take away her plate until she had finished every bite. Nothing went to waste!
  6. She was an extremely talented pianist. She could play any hymn or Christmas Carol by ear, changing keys if necessary – no sheet music required.
  7. She worried constantly – about me, my dad, friends and relatives. She was fiercely protective of the people she cared about.
  8. She didn’t take bulls**t from anyone. But she would never curse.
  9. She missed her own parents immensely and cried when she thought of them. She was an only child, like me. I sincerely wish I had known my grandparents, but I never had the opportunity.
  10. She (along with my dad) came to every band concert, play, musical, choir concert…never missed a single one from kindergarten through to university graduation. I’m sad she never got to see me run.

On her birthday in 2013, my mom ended up in hospital. She was sent home after a few days, but ended up getting readmitted. Some of her organs started to fail, and we were told that she had cancer. I flew home to spend time with her. We ended up having just 2 weeks together before moving her to hospice, where she spent just one – but one very peaceful – day.

We didn’t talk about anything specific during those 2 weeks. She worried about who was going to take care of getting sandwiches for church events, she made me promise to look after my dad, and she asked me if I was happy. That reassurance seemed to be enough for her.

Time has passed and I still miss her. My dad and I have grown closer – despite the distance – and we talk a lot. I’m very thankful for this.

And although my mom never saw me run a single race, I have dedicated the Scotiabank Half Marathon to her memory for the past two years, and will do so again this year. I fundraise for the BC Cancer Foundation because the pancreatic cancer that took a bright, caring and passionate woman from this world needs to be stopped.

So I run.

What are your favourite memories of loved ones you’ve lost?running for mom


  1. Beautiful post, and such wonderful memories of your mom! <3 I'm so sorry for your loss–it's never easy to lose a loved one. :[ I'm really glad that you were able to spend time with her though! Losing my grandma was one of the biggest driving factors for why I ended up deciding to go into medicine, so a lot of this fight is for her, even though she's technically not here to see it happen.

  2. Ima Mosier

    This is a well written and moving post about someone whom you obviously not only loved, but really liked. Sometimes we don’t get that with our parents and it is clear from this post that it is something that you had. Your Mom was beautiful and the picture of the two of you together is one I am sure you treasure. Thank you for sharing such a personal story and good luck on both the fundraising and running of the half marathon.

    • I am truly one of those fortunate people who had – and has – parents that I truly like as people, and respect as human beings. I know it’s not always that way. I really have been blessed. Thank you for your kind words and your support.

  3. Beautifully written, I read this with tears in my eyes. I lost my Dad to cancer almost 5 years ago and my mom is now fighting it. You mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Thank you for sharing such a personal story and best of luck with your race and fundraising!

    • Oh Sara, I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I don’t think losing a parent is ever easy, and I’m sorry your Mom is faced with that struggle as well. My mom was not a saint, but she was a pretty awesome woman and I certainly miss her. Thank you for sharing your own story, too, and for your support.

  4. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why March Exceeded my Expectations | Bradley on the Run

  5. Kimberly (JL) Lee

    I love to read stories about people who inspire us to do something to help others. I know that your mom was and is an inspiring person who was always supporting her family and her friends and the people who knew her well. I have also felt that she inspired people to look at themselves and feel that they can do something better. I hope you will never forget all of the lessons that she taught you and you pass them on to someone else this way your mom’s inspiring words will live on. As your mom inspired you, my grandma inspired me and I wish she was here to watch me graduate again from University and I know your mom and my grandma will always be proud of us both.

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