My mom, Geri, has been battling cancer for about a year. From the moment she found out out about it, she had a positive, we can beat this, attitude. Sort of bring it on, we'll beat this. Well unfortunately it was a hard fought battle, but the fight took its toll. She passed away about a week ago. She passed with me holding her hand.
Many people have said that my mom and I are a lot alike. Its one of the best compliments I could ever get. She wasn't a hugs and kisses sort of mom, but it didn't matter the bond was there, we new she loved us. She was a tomboy who was as she said, "born in the wrong generation". A free spirit that struggled her whole life to be free. She's free now.
My mom was born on a Montana farm and married a cowboy/rancher, my dad Bob. She ended up being quite a horsewoman. and rode and worked with horses most of her life. Rode trails and blazed trails. She drove truck, paid the bills and kept my folks business afloat. All that and making lunches, dinners and washing clothes for the family. She did it all, tirelessly and uncomplaining. She loved the outdoors and became an enthusiastic fly fisher.
The highlight of her year became meeting up with Laura, Zack and I in Montana and floating the rivers fishing. We fished the Yellowstone, Madison, Big Hole and the Jefferson rivers over the years in the type of country she grew up in. She would always take the rear seat of the raft and let my dad be up front. She did this because she was the better fisherman. My dad, who is hard of hearing would be upfront, oblivious, while she would catch fish after fish from the back of the boat. I'd turn to net the fish and she'd say "I'll just let it go before dad sees that I caught it". She knew dad would get pissed if she was out fishing him, which see did most every time we'd get out. She had the knack. On the day she caught the beautiful brown in the picture above, dad probably hooked up on 4 or 5 lunkers that he immediately broke off while attempting to horse them in. Mom just took her time and most always landed the big ones.
She loved the adventure of it. She's the one that inspired me to write, share my experiences, to become a fly fishing educator and most of all pursue my dreams. Do what I love to do. I'll miss her joking personality and good common sense. With that said I know she'll be with me in spirit as I row down the rivers wherever I life takes me.
Mom, you'll be missed, but never forgotten by me and everyone that you have touched.