Tag Archives: Marlene

Becoming a Mom without a Mom

Life without my Mom has never been as hard as it has been since I found out I was pregnant.

In case you were not aware, my mother passed away from cancer in 2011. You can read more about her here.

Her passing hasn’t been what weighs me down, it’s that I’m now left to navigate these pregnancy hormones without her. Who can I call and talk about this pain or that? Who is going to calm me down when I’m going through a crying spell or a raging mad moment for very little reason? Who is going to remind me that everything is going to be okay and that the gift at the end is worth the journey?

The truth is, I have a lot of family and friends that care about me. But like me, they have their own lives and families to deal with. They have their own worries and their own challenges. And let’s face it, even if they are there to support me, they are not my mom.

It’s lonely without my mom.

My husband has been wonderful (most of the time) and has completely spoiled me. He puts his hands on my stomach and talks to the fetus growing inside and then kicks me when she’s kicking me just so that I know it’s them against me. He’s made me laugh and has held my hand and has completely picked up the slack when I have no energy to help with chores or meal preparation. But even he, is not my mom.

My Dad has been there for my late night texts and has been supportive but he won’t know all those little details a mother knows. He won’t remember when I started walking or what my favourite foods are. My mom was the one that was always there for all those life moments.

I’m the youngest of 4 kids – and therefore there weren’t any baby books for me. My mom was my baby book. She remembered things and was able to talk about them – even if she sometimes got the stories mixed up, I still believed her.

Who can I talk about those things now?

Mourning Dove, Dove, spirit, ancestor, mother
Mourning doves always remind me of beloved relatives who have passed

When my mom got sick, the first and only question she asked was “any news on the baby front?” I couldn’t produce her dying wish. It aches inside me. Even though I know if I had gotten pregnant even the second she was diagnosed, she would’ve never been there for the birth of my child. She would’ve never held her and counted her little fingers and her toes. The loss of my mother then would’ve been even harder to bear as I know she would’ve loved to have been there.

I talked to my mother about my sadness involving not giving her her dying wish. I was taking my mother to chemo on a bright and sunny July day, having no idea that there wouldn’t be too many more days like that. I felt awful but I knew it was my only chance to talk about it as every time I was with her otherwise we were surrounded by people. I needed my mom then and I needed her to know the pain I was feeling at being inadequate for the task of a grandchild.

“It’ll happen, or it won’t happen,” she said to me. “If it doesn’t happen, you live your life and if it does, it’ll happen when it’s right. There’s no sense in worrying about it now.”

It was exactly what I needed to hear, even if the pain still stuck around.

Over 5 years.

That’s how long it took for the time to be right. My husband and I went through tests and saw several different doctors who all said the same thing “There are some minor things but nothing that is preventing you from getting pregnant.”

My mother, as usual, was right. It had to happen when it was going to happen.

I’m a firm believer that she’s with me throughout this process. She wanted me to be able to have a baby when I was ready to have a baby. She wanted me to be able to have the joy of motherhood, and I know she’d be excited that I’m having a little girl.

I wonder if my daughter is going to look like her. Will she have my mothers blue eyes? Her chin? Will she have my mother’s zest for life and unwavering need to look good?

Someone suggested we name our daughter after her. In a way, she will be. her middle name will be my mother and her mother’s name – Elizabeth. But my daughter could never be another Marlene. My mother was so special to me and everyone in our family that I can’t imagine taking that from her.

I’ve had some love in unexptected places – well beyond what I ever expected. I have an aunt who wants to buy me something big because she feels bad that my mom isn’t here. When I found out, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I can’t believe someone loves me that much and yet it hurts at the same time as no one can replace my mom.

I want to be able to lean on other people. To talk about all these conflicted feelings I have inside. I want to be able to fully open up to someone, but there is no one who can understand me at my base core and know with just one glance what I’m feeling or thinking.

Yes I have siblings, but as I mentioned above, they have their own issues, their own challenges and triumphs to celebrate. I have my in-laws who are wonderful and supportive but have the same things. I have my husband who loves me and is there for me when needed. I have my best friends who have had to listen to me rant and rave over stupid things and cheer on the good things.

But it’s still there.

I don’t have my mom. I miss her so much it aches inside and there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t bring her back.

But what I can do is talk to her and talk about her. She may not be physically here to listen but I can tell she got the message every time I see a dove on the rooftop or in the trees. I know she knows I am pregnant as there was a dove sitting on my front walk way the morning I got my first positive test. And I’m pretty sure I can thank her as she made sure I never got morning sickness – not even once, much to the dismay of many of my pregnant friends and coworkers.

I write this, not for sympathy, but because my heart needed to get this out. I write this because I miss her and sometimes it’s easier to put it down on paper or into a keyboard than to whine about it on the phone. I write this because I love my mom and I know she would want me to keep writing.

12 Months, 12 Ancestors: January – Marlene Hyde

I wrote in this blog post how I wanted to participate in #52Ancestors for 52 weeks but didn’t feel I’d have time. In that post, I also challenged myself to write about 12 ancestors in 12 months. I’m sure I’ll write about more as the mood strikes, but for this year, let’s write about 12.

Tomorrow being January 24th just happens to be the birth date of my first ancestor, my mother: Elizabeth Marlene Hyde.

Terry, Marlene and Sharon Hyde
Terry, Marlene and Sharon Hyde

My mother was born on January 24, 1950 in Galt, Ontario. She was named after her mother Betty Mae Lovejoy and went by her middle name, Marlene, but her father Henry Harold (Harry) Hyde called her Jo. With bright blue eyes, a smile to light up a room and an infectious laugh, she was popular in and out of school and had many friends.

Her elementary school years were spent at the recently closed Lincoln Public School, which was conveniently located across the street from the house she grew up in with her sisters Sharon and Terry. Although she always counted her two sisters as being her best friends, she was happy to be reunited with several of her Lincoln school friends about 10 years ago and loved that friendships forged long ago could still be relevant nearly 50 years later. She adored her friendships and always had many stories to tell and memories to share.

Marlene Hyde
My mom Marlene was such a babe

From stories told to me by my grandmother, she wasn’t always the easiest child. She hated having her hair brushed. I couldn’t helping giggling when my grandma recalled chasing after her with a hair brush down the street, my mother knowing she could never get caught and my grandmother eventually giving in and throwing the hair brush at her. I know the feeling well as I’m sure I nearly did the same to my mother when I was a little girl and she attempted to brush through my curls.

My mother loved to roller skate. Nearly all the stories I heard from her teenage years involved going roller skating, sometimes after school, and sometimes during. It was always a little scandalous to hear that my mother dropped out of school because she would rather roller skate than learn at Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School (GCI). It was very different when I went to GCI. I loved school and tried to soak up as many subjects as I could. Although like my mother, I never did figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

At 18 my mother had her first marriage and moved to Kitchener. Lonely and missing her family, the marriage ended disastrously within a few years but she made out of it with two gorgeous children, my sister Lisa and my brother Joe.

This is where my parents first met which is now Galt Brewing
Standing on the spot where Howard and Marlene first met

A few years later, she met my father and it was love at first sight. Per my mother, she was helping a friend do an oil change on his car at the Tyrods Car Club (in the building that is now the Galt Brewing Company). She was under the car when oil came out and got in her eye. My fast thinking father helped her get the oil out and she was so impressed that she begged and pleaded with her friends to set up a double date with him. Per my father, he wasn’t wearing a shirt and my mother was drawn in by his young muscle-bound body when he saved the “damsel in distress”. A few nights later my mother had her friends and my father over to play cards. Things went really well and when her friends left, my father stayed. According to both of them, they talked all night long about everything under the sun. My father went home the next day to grab a toothbrush and pretty much moved in and never left again. It was an instant connection and the love they had for each other was shown every single day. They married in 1975, had my sister Heather and then me and moved to their “starter” home on Norfolk Avenue, a starter that they stayed in for 23 years before finally moving to their dream home in 2003.

In her early working years, my mother worked at two of Cambridge (Galt)’s longest running and well known business – Gore Mutual Insurance and Babcock & Wilcox. I believe she worked in the offices of both, but I can’t seem to recall what she did there. For some reason, the mail room comes to mind, but I could be mixing up my stories as my grandmother, aunts, cousins and my sister-in-law have all worked there over the years, and three of them still do.

Her smile and laugh were contagious, even if she was thrown from the toboggan in Soper Park
Marlene’s smile and laugh were contagious, even as she was thrown from the toboggan in Soper Park

When I was 4 and started going to school, my mother decided it was time to go back to work. She had enough fun staying home with me and needed to find a way to support all 4 of her kids and our ever growing interests in sports and activities. She ended up getting two jobs, both working in the service industry. My favourite of her jobs was at the bowling alley where she worked a couple nights a week in the snack bar. I’m sure she worked there to allow us a chance to bowl in a league for a discount, but I loved going there as she would make me foot long hot dogs. My mom made the best hot dogs.

My mother, siblings and Grandma Goddard ready to go to church on Sunday
My mother, siblings and Grandma Goddard ready to go to church on a Sunday in the early 1980s (I’m the little one in front)

She also took a job working at McDonald’s on Hespeler Road, which at that time was still pretty new and exciting. She was quickly promoted to manager and loved working with people and seeing them smile. She stayed at McDonald’s for 15 years before moving on to work with my father. However in that time she had the whole family working there or doing work there. My dad made the coat racks in the change rooms, and my sisters and I, brother and sister-in-law worked there as crew and my sisters both ended up as management. My brother’s oldest daughter even gave it a shot when she turned 16. We all have a soft spot for McDonald’s and having mom teach us about QSC (Quality, Service, Cleanliness) and tell us “a time to lean is a time to clean.” I think it is why we are all such hard workers today.

For a long stretch she worked the office for my dad’s business and then for a local trucking company until she realized she hated working in an office. Marlene missed working with the public. I believe she was 58 when she made her final career change to go back to the service industry. She wanted to work for Tim Horton’s. She didn’t care if it was a pay cut, or if she was management or not. She wanted to serve people. She had done her time doing the office work, she wanted to get back to making people smile. The first two Tim Horton’s she applied to didn’t hire her. They told her they thought she was over qualified. It wasn’t until she applied to the Tim Horton’s in Aberfoyle that they took a chance. She loved the early morning shift, working most days from 7-3 which at the busiest location in Canada meant she got to make a lot of people smile. She made friends with her co-workers and enjoyed the camaraderie of doing a job well done.  My dad had a job in Puslinch and would often go to visit just to see her smile.

My mom and me on my wedding day in 2007
My mom and me on my wedding day in 2007

Marlene was a fantastic mom, the world’s best. She was fun but tough. She had a way of making you want to be a better person. She didn’t care if you became a doctor or a lawyer, she just wanted you to be happy and to work hard at whatever you were doing. She loved each of her children equally, even if she did tell each of us at some point in our lives that we were her favourite. She welcomed her family and extended family in with open arms and would always be there for anyone who really needed her. She was beloved by all of her grandchildren and adopted grandchildren who always seemed to want to be around her. She loved taking us shopping, or going out for a hike or a bike ride on her Florida 3 wheelers. She enjoyed living her life, and more than once it was noted that my mom always seemed to be on vacation. She hated to sit still and liked to keep her house and her hair, looking it’s best. She loved listening to music and dancing and spending time playing games – with scrabble being her absolute #1 choice.

In 2011 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She fought a hard battle but the cancer was too strong and it was moving too fast. In the end it had moved from her lungs to her bones to her breast and even her brain. After a short 5 month battle it all ended on September 16, 2011. At 61 years old, my mother passed peacefully from this world and now lives in the memories of those who knew her. I, for one, was blessed to have her in my life.

One of the last photos of my mom, 2011
One of the last photos I took of my mom Marlene, Spring 2011