My beautiful mother Judy seemed to always defy the odds her whole life. In the face of her struggle with mental illness, more specifically anorexia, depression, and anxiety, I witnessed a very strong woman, though she might not have felt that way. When I think about my mom, what comes to mind quickly is courage, bravery, resilience, and perseverance! She was, and is, an overcomer!
Our mother Judy recently passed away at age 79. She won the fight! The mental illness DID NOT WIN! She was told by doctors early on in her life that she would never have children—she had three: my sister Kathy, my brother Charlie, and me. She overcame and lived with so many of the emotional and mental effects of anorexia, yet she kept going and did not give up. She did not allow it to rule her life, though, there were many difficult and challenging times, no doubt! The anorexia, depression and anxiety did not define her; those diagnoses were not WHO she was! Her legacy lives on in her children, grandchildren, her love and care for others, her faith and much more. I could not be more grateful and proud to have my mom for my mother! She was meant for us three children of hers, and I continually am inspired by her and have learned so much from her.
Our mother Judy made an impact on others and a difference in the world! She never missed an opportunity to show she cared by sending notes and cards to loved ones, family and friends on their birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. She even sent cards to people she barely knew who were struggling in their own lives, to lift their spirits and show she cared. This was and is who she is. A beautiful soul whose memory lives on in the hearts of so many! She loved children and worked with them in various capacities almost her entire life until the past several years when her health started to decline.
Being in the presence of children brought her such joy This was especially true for her two beautiful grandsons, Jonah and Lucas, who truly were her world and what she lived for. My Mother also tutored a young man for years from the time he was around four years old. Though she had no formal tutor or teacher training, she made a deep impact on his life and he made a deep impact on hers. He excelled in so many areas of his life and is in college now.
Our Mother did the best she could with what she had to raise us three kids. She did such an incredible and amazing job doing so, and I would not trade any of it (even the difficult times) for anything!. She is and was the mother that was meant for me. The imprint she made on my heart and in my life is embedded in all that I do and who I am and hope to become! She has inspired me in my trials to press on, persevere and to NEVER GIVE UP, and to be a strong woman like her! Her deep, abiding and steadfast faith sustained her through the most difficult of times—in her pain and suffering emotionally, mentally, and physically. Her love and care for others was something essential for her, and held so much meaning in her life. All of this I have learned from her, and will continue to carry with me always.
God gave me the gift of my dear mother Judy. She is a gift I will treasure in my heart in all of the many memories that I will continue to cherish. She loved life and all aspects of it, though she suffered so bravely. Faith, hope and love is what sustained her and gave her strength and through her example I will continue to do the same in my own life!
Motherhood is a major part of my mother’s legacy, which certainly will live on in my brother, sister and me forever. She treasured being a mother, and she often would tell us we were all she had. I love and miss her so much! Her legacy of profound faith and strength gives me so much hope, peace, faith, and strength, and I know her story is sure to do the same for others and their own healing. Thank you.
Tina Amaro is a Licensed Professional Counselor and school counselor in Kansas City. She has been married to her loving husband Brad now for 12 years, and they have two sweet pups, Bella and Billy! The recent passing of her dear mother, Judy, has inspired Tina to share her mother’s courageous story of struggling with anorexia for over 60 years. Her hope is it will inspire and provide hope and healing for others as well!