My mother is a terrific person and parent. She taught us independence, caring for others and how to survive. She's intelligent, well-read, interesting to talk with, and I thank God that my sister and I have her.
My father died when we were very small: I was about two, and my sister was six months old. Somehow my mother picked up all the pieces and never dropped them. (And she didn't have an easy time as a child; her father died when she was seven. Her mother was orphaned at 15 and raised her younger brother and sister.)
But we keep going, all of us. And my mother did it without bitterness or "why me?" or any other kind of self-pity. We had food to eat, a roof over our heads, and even some luxuries now and again.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you very much.