I can’t imagine not having my mother. Although she lives several hours away, I talk to her every day. She is my source of comfort and guidance.

Although I can’t imagine losing her, I have had to imagine it twice in my lifetime.

My mother, Bonny Lynn Poore, was the youngest of three children in an Air Force family. They moved to places like Guam and Myrtle Beach, living in Montana and Georgia as well.

I can’t imagine.

I was born and raised in sweet home Alabama and never considered living anywhere else.

Thankfully, my grandparents ended up in Alabama and my mother met my father in the early ’80s. They married in 1984, turning my mother into Bonny Lynn Huddleston at age 19.

I can’t imagine.

Known as a “little firecracker,” my mother tells it like it is and is as tough as nails. Nothing proved that quite like the two times she fought for her life.

In 2001, she lost her mother to ovarian cancer. Months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36. When I turned 36, I had such a strange feeling. To me, she had seemed much older at my age, but I felt like a spring chicken! When my mom was 36, she was running the family business, she no longer had her mother, she had a teenager in high school, and she was fighting breast cancer.

I can’t imagine.

After surgery and chemotherapy, she valiantly beat cancer. For the next 10 years, life went on for my mother. She worked hard, played hard, and continued to take care of everyone else. In fact, I started calling her “Dr. Phillis” because it seemed like everyone she talked to wanted to dump their problems on her. She’s still that way. The woman can meet someone at a gas station and know their entire life history and desires of their heart in 30 minutes. You will see her praying for random people or paying for the person in line in front of her because God told her to. If she was a billionaire, she wouldn’t have much because she would give it all away.

I can’t imagine.

At age 46, her health once again became a focus after a colo-rectal cancer diagnosis. The news was shocking and earth-shattering. I remember my mother weighing her options and not wanting to go through chemotherapy again, as the first time was so traumatic for her. But in “little firecracker” fashion, she finally decided she must head to the fight.

The doctor told my father and me that we needed to prepare ourselves for whatever the future could hold. We prayed a lot.

One evening, my father and I sat downstairs speaking quietly so Mom wouldn’t hear us. My father wanted to make sure I would be okay if something happened to her. But we both knew neither one of us would be okay, and we both broke down.

“If something happens to her, I am going to be very angry and I will be a hermit,” my father told me.

Although I wasn’t sure, I told my dad nothing was going to happen.

“Momma will fight,” I thought to myself. “And she is the strongest person I know.”

My mother never knew how serious her cancer was until she was completely healed. Her doctor called her a miracle. The fight was long and grueling, but she never once asked what stage cancer she was in. She didn’t want to know. Her idea of fighting was to lean on God and think positively.

I can’t imagine.

Apparently, that was the path to healing for my mother. She once again beat cancer.

Her fighting spirit and giving heart have not wavered. My mother and I started a program we named after my grandmother, Janice. “Just A Need” (JAN) started out as a small way for us to give to hospitalized patients and their families. Whatever the need was, whether it was a gift card for food or gas, a fruit basket, or a shoulder to cry on, we wanted to help others who had been in our shoes.

A few months later, I was asked to serve on the board of directors for the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation. Since my grandmother Janice passed away from ovarian cancer, the non-profit adopted the “Just A Need” program and has since helped hundreds of ovarian cancer patients and their family members across the state.

I am so thankful to have my mom, and I am so blessed to have learned many life lessons from her. I am so grateful that she is the “little firecracker” that never gave up.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I can’t imagine life without you.

Erica Mom Alabama News

Erica Thomas is the editor-at-large for 1819 News.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

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