Defining Life Story

Paradigm shifts in life tend to be those around new life, death, or great change.

When I was a little girl, I counted down the days till summer camp. While only one week, I anticipated those seven days in Hocking Hills more than Christmas morning! The days flew by – like time does when you have fun – as I conducted nature studies, swam in the natural springs, and sat around campfires with girlfriends I still call friends more than 50 years later.

When I was 16, I had the honor of serving as a Junior Counselor for the entire summer. That summer was the last of my childhood.

My mom wanted me to enjoy those last, long summer days, laughing innocently with other girls and those I mentored; she didn’t want to burden me with the truth.

When I came home, bursting with energy and life, I learned my mother was dying. She had breast cancer and had known since May. In her remaining months, we cherished our time together, while also going over things I would assume once she was gone. 

That December I became the woman of the house. Beyond schoolwork, I assumed the household chores and helped my father raise my two sisters, 9 and 12 at the time.

My granddaughter is 16, the same age I was when my mama died. While she is capable, I just can’t imagine her assuming all that responsibility.