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Eileen Moore is the epitome of a Mother

Jun 11

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Monday, June 11, 2012  RssIcon

MUNCIE -- There may be no such a thing as "the perfect mother," but Eileen Moore comes pretty close.

Kind yet firm, loving but not a pushover, always sharing a warm smile when discussing her children and the joys of motherhood, she is the epitome of a mother as nurturer.

Her affection for children is palpable, always willing to pass along a hug to any child who may be having a bad day, remaining positive in the most difficult of circumstance, her belief in a better tomorrow as contagious as her smile.

It's part of her genetic makeup to be this way.

"My parents, they aren't social workers, but they believe in giving to people, in helping people and being positive," Moore said. "They're just those kind of people. And they loved being parents. I just got that from them, I guess, always helping, always looking up, always loving children."

As the program manager for the Child Advocacy Center, a division of Meridian Health Services' Suzanne Gresham Center, Moore has seen her positive outlook tested daily as she works with abused children.

As the mother of two grown daughters she has seen her role as a mother change over time as her girls have moved away from East central Indiana to build lives of their own.

But it is her latest personal test - her fight against terminal cancer -- that has reminded her and others that being a mother is more than a label. It is a love that rises above all difficulties.

"I honestly think that thinking about others and caring for the children here at the CAC has kept me focused on what life is all about," Moore said. "They've helped me keep my priorities straight. Instead of sitting at home waiting to die, I come in here and work for them."

Being a mother for all

When the CAC opened in 2007, the intent was to provide children and their families with a voice during their fight against child abuse.

For years, children were asked to relate their experiences to law enforcement officers, counselors, prosecutors and, of course, their parents, reliving the victimization each time they spoke.

A multi-disciplinary team, which included representatives from the each segment of the investigation, prosecution and counseling process, eased the situation for children, according to many parents.

Moore, who counsels the children and family members regarding the abuse they've experienced, has been essential to this team, as parents try to bring their families back together after the trauma of physical or sexual abuse.

"I've always felt my work has made me a better mother and that being a mother has made me a better social worker," Moore said. "I've learned the importance of putting children's basic needs first and that can be done by listening to what they have to say ... by just being there when they need you."

Parents who have seen her work with their children in therapy have been amazed that Moore is as nurturing as she is, given what she hears every day.

They're also surprised by her gentle nature with siblings who may not have been abused, giving them as much positive attention as those who need the CAC's help.

Her kindness doesn't mean she will not fight for their children. She certainly will, as if they were own.

"She's my hero," said Erica Graham, a parent whose son visited the CAC in 2009. "She gave me family back. I describe her all the time as the frame that held our family together during the toughest times in our lives. And she didn't hold it together for her benefit. Just long enough for us -- for me -- to believe we could survive this. She's amazing."

Since the CAC's opening, 638 children have been welcomed by Moore, who is the primary liaison between the team and the family.

Her sweet, soft voice is often soothing to the children, who are typically hesitant to trust another adult with their pain.

But as they open up and learn they can trust her, parents see their children return to the lovely beings they were before the abuse. They see their child's smile return, their personalities come back and their belief in themselves skyrocket like never before.

It is, to many parents, a saintly quality she has, a calm demeanor that lets everyone know they will be all right when this process is over.

"That tree in the center with all those leaves on it, with the names of children who have visited the center, she helps every single one of them and that's amazing to me," said Moore's daughter, Emily. "She has always watched out for people who are vulnerable. She has always been their voice. It's one of the things I love most about her."

The vulnerable include the parents who have often lost their confidence in their care-taking abilities, who have lost all faith in family and in others, who need a shoulder to cry on every time they hear of their children's pain.

Moore's shoulder is always there.

"I don't know how she does what she does ... how she listens to all of those stories," Graham said. "But she does it. And I can't imagine having gone through the situation with my son without her. I wish I could be just like her."


Moore's two daughters have wanted to be like her, too.

For Sarah Sears and Emily Long, there was never anything bad about being Eileen Moore's daughter.

She placed notes in their lunches every day until high school. She loved to finger-paint with her girls and tuck them in at night. She attended every dance recital, every volleyball match, everything that was important to her girls.

And she still found a way to be a good social worker.

For nearly 40 years, Moore has been a social worker, caring for children in the most traumatic circumstances.

Every day after work she would come home and give each girl a long hug, reminding them how special they were to her.

When she came home, she never brought those painful experiences with her.

"As long as I can remember, she's been my role model," said Moore's older daughter Sarah. "I'm a social worker because she is. I've tried to model my life after hers. Truth is, she's the most selfless and humble person I know."

As with the clients at the CAC or anywhere she worked, her daughters were welcomed home with smiles and kindness, often with baked goods as well, knowing that if they didn't learn anything else in the world, they knew their mother loved them.

Moore adores being the mother of her two girls, not because they were easy to raise, although she couldn't have asked for more well-adjusted girls in her opinion, but because she could pass on what her mother taught her.

Moore was also one of two girls and she adored her parents who raised their girls to live and love life, even it's ups and downs.

They family was forced to practice what they preached when Moore's younger sister Sharon died of breast cancer at the 46. They were saddened, but they took the opportunity to celebrate Sharon's life, not spend every day mourning her death.

Sharon was her best friend. The woman she'd laugh with during their days growing up in Marion, Iowa.

The person she shared her dreams with, who would cheer her on as she would for her.

Over the years, she's learned to honor her sister's life, being a surrogate grandmother to the grandchildren Sharon would never see.

Moore has taken on this practice as well in her own life.

Eight years ago she was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei appendiceal carcinoma, an incredibly rare cancer that affects 0.0001 of people.

"Basically, one person in Muncie was going to get it and that's me," she said with a humorous smile and laugh.

The cancer invades the body, racing against time -- and surgeons -- to infect the intestinal region, fighting chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments until the body finally succumbs to death.

After four surgeries, doctors told Moore, she would probably have six months to live. This cancer had turned fatal.

That was almost two and a half years ago.

"Every day that I'm alive is a miracle," she said. "It really is. I didn't think I'd live to see my daughters graduate or get married and I've seen them both meet their husbands and succeed so much in their lives.

"And the best part is, I'm going to be a grandmother! It's a miracle I'll be around for that!"

Not giving up on life

During last year's Christmas holidays, Long gave her mother a present she never expected to see.

It's was a "onesie" for a baby that said "what happens in grandma's house, stays at grandma's house."

Immediately, Moore began to cry.

"Actually, we all started to cry," Long said. "Except for my stepdad Pat who wasn't sure what was going on."

Moore will be alive to see her first grandchild, something she had put out of her mind when the doctor's gave her the bleak diagnosis in 2010.

"I can't wait!" Moore said. "I'm so excited! And the best part is, no one knows the gender so it'll be a big surprise! There are so few surprises in the world. Why not make this one?"

Moore plans to be with her daughter when she gives birth, joking that her only concern is potentially getting queasy at the site of everything.

Although the gender isn't known, a potential girl's name is.

Both Sears and Long have agreed that if they have daughters, the middle names will be Eileen, to honor their mother's legacy.

"I tell my husband all the time, 'we have to make sure we tell this kid and any more we have everything about my mother,'" Long said. "I want them to know everything about her and how to be her.

"Really, if I can be the mother she is, I'll be happy."

Although death will come sooner rather than later for Moore, she and her family are not preparing for her funeral just yet.

The grandchild -- who will be born in July -- has taken up much of the family's attention and Moore couldn't ask for anything else.

She also her work, which she has gone to every day regardless of whether she had a chemotherapy treatment or if she was groggy from the cancer invading her body.

Her life has been about being a mother, not for only her girls, but for the voiceless children in ECI. She's not going to let a terminal cancer diagnosis stop that now.

"I'm not scared about the future," she said. "I'm excited to see my sister again and to tell her about the grandchildren. I want to tell her how I learned to be a good mother from her."

"But right now I'm focused on work and being there for the children who've been abused, who don't have anyone else speaking for them. I really think they're the reason I've been alive this entire time,. To be here for all of them."

Source: TheStarPress


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