She got the news in June 2008 and took it like a champion. From that day forward, she battled and fought lung cancer as best as she could.

She lasted longer than they expected. She won because she was a winner. She died on Christmas morning in 2009. She was needed in Heaven, obviously.

There is no doubt that’s where my mom is, because if anyone deserved to be there, it was her.

It’s pushing 12 years since that heartbreaking Christmas morning. And as a man told me at her memorial service days after her passing, you will always think of your mom.

He was right. A day never goes by with me thinking of her, of me missing her, just wishing I could swing by for some supper, a quick talk or a soothing ear.

Sometimes it seemed she never got a break. But looking back, maybe that wasn’t so much true. She was always there for anyone who needed her or needed something. She would take in anyone, to feed them and give them a place to sleep. And give her last dollar if they really needed it.

I probably didn’t get that from her, as much as my brother did. From her, I got how to always stay strong and that it can always be worse. I also got dedication from her. She went to work each day, rarely, if ever taking off.

I can remember, as a child, it was so exciting when it snowed, and she got to stay home. Only as an adult, I can now see her fear in missing a day of work. I carry that feeling now.

She was my best friend; the one person, without a doubt, I knew would always be there.

My only regret is that Luke never got to meet her. He was born three months after she passed away.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Be sure to reach out to your mom if you can. I sure wish I could.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of The Jackson County Sentinel. He can be reached by email at dewayne.patterson@jcsentinel.com.

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