By Mona K. Wood


My mom has always been happy, healthy and active, even into her senior years bowling regularly, playing her beloved Hawaiian music on guitar, ukulele or piano, taking frequent trips with my Dad to Las Vegas, and always ready with a smile or story to share. She was always a great cook, too – a skill which I, unfortunately, did not inherit even in the slightest.

She was the original “supermom,” raising five baby boomer kids, shuttling everyone to school, piano, hula, cheerleading, basketball, karate, the dentist, the doctor – and that occasional trip to the emergency room, of course.

And with the original “Mr. Cleaver” as a husband, she would still have a sumptuous meal prepared when he came home each day from work, house spic and span, all the laundry washed and ironed down to his white cotton handkerchiefs.

 I remember her doing all this even when she was sick, but I certainly did not appreciate it at the time. But when my niece and nephew, only two kids, stay with my boyfriend and I on the weekends, we have a lot of fun but I am exhausted by Sunday night. And we buy take-out and I have not used an iron in recent memory. To think of taking care of five kids when I’m sick is unimaginable. But, I guess that’s what being a mom is all about. And my mom has been the best.

Even as she approached her 80’s, it seemed she would be fit as a fiddle forever. That’s why when she suddenly lost her appetite and started dropping pounds recently, none of us were prepared for the drastic change in her health, appearance and demeanor.
Her face was suddenly gaunt, her gait slowed and weak, the twinkle in her eyes and ready smile gone. Where did my once vibrant mom go?


My dad was the one whose health we always worried about with his heart condition and high blood pressure. However, roles have reversed and my mom has come to depend on him for her doctor appointments and just getting through each long day. Not a patient man by nature, my dad has shown great patience and truly become her rock through this challenge. After 55 years of marriage, they seem closer than ever somehow.

 I’m realizing more and more all they did for us, cringing at all the times we gave them a “heart attack” with our behavior and questionable choices. While they are both still here, I want to make sure they understand that I see all this now, that I know how much they did for us, and that the love and stability they gave me growing up has made me the confident and loving person I am today.

I just want to be able to share this with them for a while longer.

Mona K. Wood is a publicist and writer. Reach her at