That name is Denise Comeau; it’s my mother’s name.
This is probably the first time her name has appeared in any newspaper, except perhaps her birth announcement. Her name is not on my high school or college diploma. It never sits next to my name in any of my newspaper bylines, and it has never appeared on any award I have ever received, nor will it.
Yet it is there, invisible and unnoticed, except by me.
She is one of the strongest people I have ever known, and it was her strength through all sorts of adversity as a single parent while I was growing up that helped me be who I am today.
I’ve been reminded of her quiet strength again over the past 18 months, as my stepfather, her partner for the last 18 years, slowly succumbed to pelvic cancer.
Her ability to hold everything together as she supported and cared for my stepfather while she watched him slowly slip away, while also being there for my little sister in this most difficult time in her life, reminded me again what a remarkable person I have for a mother.
So I just decided to dedicate a little space to say, “Thank you Mom”.
Thank you Mom, for my life, many times over.
Thank you Mom, for being there when I was three and had to get stitches, and not getting mad when I kept saying, “If you loved me you’d take me home,” even though it must have hurt.
Thank you Mom, for not getting too mad when I decided to “decorate” the headboard of my new bed in permanent marker.
Thank you Mom, for being supportive when I covered the house with my picture-story, and for encouraging that seed that grew into my love of writing.
Thank you Mom, for keeping hope, and keeping us both alive, on the streets of Cambridge, even through the snow storm when things were at their bleakest.
Thank you Mom, for all the comfort and care you gave me the many, many times I was sick, and especially for convincing my doctor to do that X-ray when I was in the hospital and nobody knew what was wrong.
Thank you Mom, for my sister.
Thank you Mom, for always stepping in and playing peacemaker when my stepfather and I fought; I understand how hard we made it for you.
Thank you Mom, for “adopting” one of my best friends when his home life was not so great.
Thank you Mom, for all of the support and encouragement you gave me in school, even when you didn’t have a clue what I was studying.
Thank you, Mom, for always supporting me in what I wanted to do with my life, while always being there for advice.
Thank you Mom, for respecting me in giving me the space to grow into an adult, yet being there for me when one of my closest friends died and I needed to be a child again.
Thank you Mom, for flying across the country for my wedding, even though you hate flying, and for dancing the “Mother-Son” dance at the wedding, even though I know you hate being in the spotlight.
Thank you Mom, for the million and one other things you’ve said and done for me over my life; I can’t list them all.
Thank you, and Happy Mother’s Day.
Reporter Jamie Anfenson-Comeau’s mother lives in Tucson, Ariz.