This time of the year is always the toughest time for me. Not only is Mother's Day this week, but May 2 is my mother's birthday. This year, Barbara Parsons would have been 75, but we lost her far too soon when she died from lung cancer.  She's been gone for almost 17 years now, but not a day goes by when I don't think of my mother and there's one amazing moment she experienced before her death that I'd like to share with you.

My mother grew up in Bethel, Maine. I remember taking those car trips from South Paris to Bethel to visit my grandparents in her Dodge Dart muscle car that my grandfather warned her was too much car for her when she saw it at the dealership. After she drove it up Route 26 with my grandfather to really see what it could do, she was sold. I think my grandfather's plan may have backfired.

Eventually, she sold the Dart to get a more practical 1970's vehicle for a mom with two kids - a Ford Fairmont station wagon. She didn't want to get rid of the car, but it was time. She sold it to the young son of a family friend who took it with him to college. She always missed that car.

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Mom had smoked all her life and when I asked her to quit numerous times she would always say, "but it makes me happy." She had had it rough in recent years. Back issues with several surgeries had made it impossible for her to work and she was often in pain. How could I deny her something which made her so happy?

In 2005 she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The oncologist showed us an x-ray of her lungs and the prognosis was not good. It hit us hard knowing that she may not have very long to live.

Jeff Parsons
Jeff Parsons
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We let family and friends know that she had been diagnosed and they all came to support the woman who had been there for them all their lives.

My mother was the least selfish woman I knew. She would move mountains for you. She was always the person I would turn to when I didn't know what to do, and I wasn't the only one who turned to her. She was like a mother to so many of my friends.

Shortly after hearing the news about her diagnosis, that young college kid who bought the Dodge Dart gave her a call and asked, "Want to go for a ride?" Nearly 30 years later, he still had the Dart and it still purred.

We could hear it coming from what must have been half a mile away. The smile on my mother's face as her very first car pulled up to her was priceless. She asked my brother and I if we wanted to go. We said no. This was her ride.

She got behind the wheel, headed toward Route 26 in South Paris and opened it up. She was young again. When she came back, the smile on her face was even wider

Jeff Parsons
Jeff Parsons
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I watched Barbara Parsons pass away on October 1st, 2005 just a few months after her diagnosis at the age of 58. My life changed forever.

There are still times that I think I should give her a call and then remember she's not there. There are moments when I see my son who was born a year after her death and think how much mom would have loved this kid, as he would have loved her too.

There are moments, like on her birthday, when I wonder what it would be like if she was still here. People tell me that she is still there. She's watching over me. It's a nice thought, but I just can't believe in that. My mother did though.

She knew I didn't believe in life after death and she said she'd come back to prove it to me. I said the only way she could prove it was to show up standing in front of me. I haven't seen her yet, but I do hope she proves me wrong someday.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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