Janni Moss. 1947 – 1990. We never forget you.

For many years, Mother’s Day was a day I tried to ignore. In May each year I tried not to hear about my friend’s plans for this day. I tried to avoid the ads, tried not to see the cards, the flowers, the news headlines. Mother’s day was a painful day for me because I could not spend it with my own mother Janni, who lost her battle with cancer in 1990 at only 43.

I confess that Mother’s Day still holds a touch of sadness for me, but in time I have learned to celebrate my mum on this day and not simply mourn her loss. Now that I am a mother myself, I feel closer to her and I am even more grateful for the life, love and lessons she gave me. She’s there in my daughter’s smile and even in my own reflection as I grow older. I sense her in the decisions I make, in my outlook on life. The truth is, though some mums leave us too soon, they are never truly gone. They leave a lasting legacy.

My mother was the person who first encouraged me to get involved in the community. On Halloween each year (which is celebrated enthusiastically in my birth country of Canada) my sister and I would dress up as silly ghouls or scarecrows and go door to door to collect for UNICEF rather than only collecting Halloween candy. It was an unusual thing at the time, but the neighbours loved it, and filled our pillow slips (the sacks we used) with spare change they wouldn’t miss. I think it says a lot about my mum that she taught her daughters about the importance of that engagement with the larger world when we were so young. As a family we were far from rich, but candy and sweets were something we could afford when we wanted. Collecting for UNICEF had a much greater impact on us as kids than the brief joy of a candied apple or stick of chocolate.

I think my mum would like UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts.

UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts can be purchased online in literally minutes, and UNICEF will send an e-card, PDF or mail a card to the recipient with info about your wonderful gift. If you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to send a gift to your mum that can make her proud, and can save lives. It could take you minutes today, and your help will be felt across the world. For only $62 you can vaccinate 200 children to protect them against measles, which can be deadly in developing nations, and leaves those lucky enough to survive with life-long disabilities that can include blindness and brain damage. Or for only $31 you can protect 100 kids, for $16 buy nutrients for kids, or for $12 buy them story books. Plus there are many other life changing and inspired options to choose from. Please think about it. I will be buying an inspired gift in my mum’s memory today.

To all the mums out there, I salute you.

And mum, thank you for making me the woman I am today.