by Bobbette Robinson
As a formerly homeless person, my mother Erma Austin was a source of inspiration and love in my ability to get back on the right track. My mother was a hard working woman who loved her job at the Cleveland Clinic. She was a strong woman who never gave up easily on anything and she was my best friend. She inspired me to get out of being homeless and she always said that I was welcome to live with her but I wanted to be able to do it on my own. In my journey towards independence, my mother was a source of stability, comfort and respite. She was always there for me as a friend and mother through all of my hardships.
But then six months ago my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and for once in my life I was the person that she could lean on for support. For so many years she helped me when I needed her. She helped raise my two children and gave them a loving and safe home while I was unable to care for them and provide the support they needed. And when my mother became ill I finally had the opportunity to not only give her the support she needed, but I was able to realize a life long dream of working in the medical field as a nurse. Although not a nurse officially, I was the person that nursed and took care of her when she was unable to do it for herself. It was a dream fulfilled on many levels.
For six months I had the opportunity to give back to my mother what she had always given to me, which was her unconditional love and support. And while she was ill, it was that love that she gave us that carried us through the hardships of the last months of her life. She passed away on March 5th, 2013. Everyone that knew my mother will always remember her love and carry it with them throughout their life until the day they meet again.
Copyright NEOCH and Street Chronicle May 2013, Cleveland, Ohio