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My mom had a tough upbringing. But instead of falling victim to her past, she chose to draw strength from it and ensure her family was strong, her children would always know they were loved, and that they could do anything they set their mind and energy to. And I am grateful for her guidance and the example she set.

My mom has always been beautiful and accomplished. She chose a life of caregiving. When she graduated from nursing, she fulfilled a dream of working in California, launching her career in Laguna Beach. Based on the stories and pictures of those days, I could have totally partied with her! My dad followed her to California, convincing her to marry him and return to Ontario. She nursed for 25 years, seeking high-stress roles in the surgery and emergency wards, proudly sharing how she was the best in finding veins for intravenous procedures.

She tells me of her hourglass shape and how my father’s fingertips just touched when he put his hands around her waist. She has always been well dressed and accessorized – even in the early days when she sometimes made her own clothes because money was tight.

Addressing the issue of memory loss with Mom was one of the most difficult and heartbreaking moments of my life. I brought dinner over to my parents and after a pleasant meal, started the dialogue.

My mom is a smart woman. I knew she knew. She maybe just hoped we didn’t. As I stepped momentarily away from the table I heard her share with my dad, “Paul, I am not ready for this.” Tears well up in my eyes even as I write this. Because neither are we.

We are not sure if mom’s progression will result in her needing specialized clothing. If she ever does, it will give me some peace of mind to know that there is clothing available for her that will allow her to be well dressed. If that day comes, you might notice more blue in our selections because that is Mom’s favorite colour.

Contributed by Pat Q, Daughter & CEO Monarch Collection Inc