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    Posted May 7, 2012 by
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What makes your Mother's Day special?

    1991: An unexpected last Mother's Day


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JudyJustice says she sees more of her mom in herself now. "My mom always used to tell me, 'Honey, stop and smell the roses' and 'Don't take yourself so seriously.'"
    - jgumbrecht, CNN producer

    In October of 1990, our Mom was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. She was 48, just 3 months from turning 49.

    On Mother's Day of 1991, I had a barbecue at my place in San Diego. To this day, I don't know why I came up with the idea.
    It was out of character as we usually congregated at Mom and Dave's house or went to the Hotel del Coronado or Humphrey's for brunch on special occasions as a large blended family. Unbeknownst to us, this would be her last Mother’s Day.

    My stepfather, Dave, Mom and my younger brother, David, came to my place for the barbecue. I ended up overcooking Mom’s steak, but it was edible and everything else on the menu turned out as planned. I was never known for my culinary talents, although Mom TRIED complete with requiring cooking classes in school and sewing classes at Sears on Tuesday nights for what seemed an eternity. I did not aspire to be June Cleaver!

    Much to my chagrin, Mom brought me an unexpected gift in the form of a book called "Truly tasteless jokes." I still have it. A gift of this nature was completely out of character for her, right along with her request I read some of the jokes at dinner. I did read some of the more tame jokes and can still see her laughing and throwing her head back a couple of times. It is a memory I'll cherish for the rest of my life. Our Mom was demure, sensitive, a little shy, and more given to civilized conversation and not the sometimes salty humor of her daughter.

    Unfortunately, my other brother, Michael, had to work and lived 2 hours away. Such was his life of retail management at that time with long, crazy hours. At this time, my internal observation was that it was stressful for him to be living away from the family during this time. I remember missing Michael that day at my place and I specifically felt unsettled about it. To this day I feel he was cheated in some way. I know it had to be upsetting to him. He and Mom were close and similar in personality.

    Mom lost her battle on December 1, 1991, 7 weeks before turning 50. Time has marched on and as I turned 50 in late 2010, I felt her right there with me.
    My brothers and I are so blessed to have had a loving, caring, encouraging and emotionally available Mom- on that we all agree! We love you, Mom!

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