My Most Treasured Memory of My Mom

Today is Mother's day and I've been sitting down watching cartoons with my son, @the_clone and it made me think of the ways my mother and I spent time together.  I have so many fond memories of my mother, when I was a kid, I don't think there was a single person I admired more than my mother.  In my mind, my mother could do anything.  

I like to describe my mom as the best combination of Bob Villa, Bob Ross, and Martha Stewart. It seemed like she knew how to do everything!  I remember when my mom inherited her mother's house and my parents decided to remodel it.  I can't remember having contractors around, but what I do remember is seeing my mom working on almost every piece of the project: Putting up sheetrock, laying carpet, replumbing and wiring the house, putting in new windows, installing vinyl siding, and even doing roofing work.  She also loved to paint, I remember her watching epidoes of Bob Ross' shows all the time to hone her oil painting skills.  She used to love to paint landscape scenes, rivers with forests near by, ocean scenes with sailing ships and seagulls, and various other things.  

I remember her sitting me down with this old art books that had a tutorial on drawing a covered bridge over a lake with trees in the background.  She was so proud of me when I finally got the hang of drawing perspectives and my covered bridge looked just like the tutorial.  She had quite an eye for design too, when I was in my early teens, she had a thing for stenciling. She wanted to stencil the walls of the house with ivy and various other designs.  

image from upload.wikimedia.orgThere was so much more to my mom than just that though, she showed interest in the things that I liked.  My family got by with a modest income but I always remember when something was really important to me, somehow I got it.  Some time in the late 80s, our family got an NES.  Our very first games were Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda.  I remember watching my mom play the original Legend of Zelda very frequently.  She knew every bush to burn, rock to push, gravestone to push, and every other hidden item in both the 1st and 2nd quest.  Back in those days, they didn't really publish game guides, but Nintendo published a magazine called "Nintendo Power" which would occasionally have full coloured maps and such for the most popular Nintendo titles.

Our modest living didn't quite allow the room to have a regular subscription to this magazine and so my mom's solution was to get multiple sheets of graph paper and square by square she mapped out the entire world of Legend of Zelda both the 1st and 2nd world.  She marked every hidden spot she knew of and when she was finished it spanned mulitple pieces of graph paper.  She even loaned the map out to close friends and family who didn't have a Nintendo Power subscription.  If there is one thing I wish I could have more than anything, it would be my mom's Legend of Zelda map. I'd frame it and put it up on my livingroom wall.  She put so much attention to detail into that map.  

She never stopped gaming during the entire time I knew her.  She and I would play boardgames, card games, and video games all the time.  When I got into Magic: The Gathering, she humoured me by learning how to play.  I still remember the very first game we played, I had a mono blue permission deck (a deck composed of cards intended to primarily counter spells) and I let her use a Green sapling deck of mine.  Every time I'd play an instant or an interrupt, she'd accuse me of cheating and laugh as I would explain the individual rules to her.

Now that I've told you the absolute happy memories of my mom, I want to share a very private story that is both sad and happy which took place when I was 16 years old.  It's the story of the last time my mother and I gamed together ever. July 19th 1998 (a Sunday), a date I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

image from upload.wikimedia.orgOne of my mom's new favourite games was the original Diablo.  She'd beaten the game repeatedly and I was more interested in playing with the character hacker and being an asshole PKer.  That night, I had convinced my mom to play on Battlenet with me on my character (which had been hacked to be unreasonably stronger than most other characters).  Her job was to control the character and my job was to type/talk to other players on BattleNet and we even used my hacked character.  

We were going through the first dungeon to take down The Butcher with other people online and I turned to her and said, "Hey mom.  Attack that player.  Just do it."  She turned and looked at me aghast. 

She said to me, "That's mean!" and gave me a rather incredulous look, but did it.  The player died and dropped an ear, they cursed at us and I (being a jerk teenager) taunted them (playfully) over chat.  For the next few hours, my mother was on a player killing spree.  She was laughing so hard that tears had welled in her eyes and I couldn't remember ever having as much fun playing video games with my mom before in my life.  

It was nearly impossible to drag either of us away, but I had work in the morning and she had a doctor's appointment.  That Friday, my mom had experienced headaches and chest pains.  Her doctor wasn't concerned enough to have her to go the ER, so she had a doctor's appointment that Monday while I was at work.

I'm incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing time with my mother.  It was the last time I'd play a video game with my mom ever.  Some time around midday Monday July 20th 1998, my mother died at home.  I never got a chance to game with her again.  

I know this story must sound incredibly sad, and writing it brings tears to my eyes, but I couldn't have asked for a better "last moments" with my mom.  The woman who could do anything, was stronger than anyone else's mom I knew, could devour books in mere hours, and was my best friend.  

I feel so lucky that my last memories of my mom were so happy, both of us were intensely happy that night.  We laughed until we cried and I could be as silly as I wanted around her (at 16, not many girls probably liked being incredibly silly).  

I've never shared this story in such depth except for with a few close friends. It's my most treasured memory of my mother ever.  I couldn't have asked for a better last moment with my mom.  That moment was the penultimate expression of exactly why my mother was my best friend in life. 

Thank you all for letting me share this memory with you.  

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