She went to nursing school while she was raising 3 kids and my dad. Then after she left my dad she built a new life for herself and has done quite well. She was a charge nurse and she actually would have been a nurse practicioner but it was not "legal" to be one in those days. In the early 90's she hurt her back at work and had to quit working due to this injury compounded with severe arthritis.
Soon after this my granny had a stroke and became a total care patient. If it had not been for my mom's expert nursing skills she would have died more than once. Mommy took care of her mom, my aunt Mary Ann who is retarded and uncle Bud who requires supervision over his affairs for about 5 years before granny finally passed on. Granny never did get well enough to get out of bed or even turn herself for that matter but Mommy always made sure that she got the best of care.
Around the time that my Grandma died, my great-aunt Edna died. Mom was closer to Edna than anybody else in the world. Edna's son Billy is also retarded so in addition to taking care of Mary Ann, she started to care for Billy. Also it was my great aunt's wish that mommy take care of Edna's ex-husband Bill who was in a private nursing home so my mom also took on that responsibility. All the while suffering from her arthritis and several other medical problems that make life difficult for anyone to live - much less someone taking care of 4 dependent adults.
Today Mary Ann lives in an apartment behind my mom's house. Billy and Bud live together and keep each other amused while mommy oversees the details of their lives. To add on more stress her arthritis worsens and she won't allow anyone to help her with anything.
For all these things and more than I can write in one blog My Mom Deserves My Respect.