The emotions are still fresh. One day I am heartbroken. One day I am relieved. One day I am at peace. One day I am full of joy. My heart still aches for my dad, my husband, my kids, my grandparents, my siblings; actually, my heart aches for all of my family and mom’s close friends. Just over a year ago, my family found out that my mom would succumb to cancer. After a courageous 20-month battle, my mom passed away in January. No matter how prepared I thought I was for the inevitable, this softball season I have missed her more than ever.

In the 15 years I coached a varsity sport, my mom never missed the opening athletic weekend. She made sure she was there to see what I would call her about every night. In most cases, she would give me her words of wisdom and encouragement. This softball season was emotionally tough—mom was not in the stands. It was hard for me to conceal my aching heart that day, yet it was our oldest who reminded me, “Mom don’t cry. Gammy was there!”

She proceeded to tell me, “The fly ball to center field I caught, I knew Gammy was watching.”

Three weeks into the season my mom was not in the stands. At the district championship game, she was not in the stands. When our team qualified for the state softball tournament, she was not in the stands. Yet, it was our children who would remind me that my mom was always there and that she had the best view of every single play. No matter what happened ― the incredible catches, the multiple hits, the pacing in the coach’s box, the strikeouts, the love for teammates ― all of this was the joy I needed. When our team opened the state softball tournament with a hard hit ball to the center fielder (which was caught) I instantly felt my mom’s presence.

Life is challenging and life is rewarding. It is challenging as I question, “Why would I be grieving my mom the greatest during the sport season we enjoyed the most?” On the flip side, it is rewarding as my children are the ones to bring me joy through their hugs and memories about mom. It is also rewarding for what transpired throughout the softball season, as this season brought smiles and joy…the very thing my mom would have wanted.

Through my children and this sports season, I was reminded even though my mom was not in the stands, she was there watching every single play. All of this brings a smile to my face and fills my aching heart with joy.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

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