Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Eventually, with hard work on her part and the help of an incredible staff, she was able to brush her hair, feed herself, write and push herself in her wheelchair. Never one to rest on her laurels, she was determined that one day she would walk again. She worked hard with the therapist and never gave up her belief that determination and work could get the job done.

She never regained the ability to walk, but she made friends in the home, baked bread, played the handbells and went to as many activities as possible. She ventured out to attend her grandchildren's recitals, family celebrations and field trips. Her last trip was to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, where she admired the hydrangeas and chatted with my daughter Maggie as my son Robert pushed her.

Words and phrases that come to my mind when I think of my mother include faithful, loving, determined, hardheaded, tough, funny and a strong believer of God. Her life had been hard at times, but she was secure in the knowledge that God would take care of her and others, and that her prayers would always be answered.

My mother went to heaven last August, and this will be my first Mother's Day without her. Her spirit is still with me, but I miss her voice and her constant declarations of love that filled our conversations.

Her last voicemail to me is still on my phone, "Hey, babe, this is Mom, I'm fine ... I love you very much."

I know she's fine, and I love her very much, too.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.