The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength


As many of you know, my Mom died of cancer in 1985. She fought it for over twelve years. Of course, this does not make me unique. By the time she died I was already a young man. However, a friend, George Landolt, has asked how my Mom’s protracted illness affected me as a boy.

Looking back, the only real, or immediate, impact her illness actually had on me was in the form of my running.

About the time I was becoming a “champion” I was also becoming aware of how serious her illness was. So, I lost myself in the intense cocoon of my long-distance training.

It was 1976, and we had just moved from F.E. Warren Air Force Base outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming where I had made the varsity Cross Country and Track teams as a Freshman – and, was a Freshman State Champion. Dad was now stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base outside of Knob Noster, Missouri. I was a Sophomore at a new school, and did not know anyone. So, I just ran hard. I found myself going head-to-head with a Senior named Gene Hall who was very popular in school, and favored to win State AA.

Mom was missing all of my meets because she was under treatment much of that year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

At the conference championships I was preparing for my “kick” and gaining on Gene with an eye for the tape. As I crested a hill (the hills were where I always punished my opponents) I could hear this thin wavering voice calling out:

“you go baby… Run him down… You are a mighty champion”!

It was my Mom – so thin, frail and weak. She had made Dad drive her from the airport to Groveton for the meet. I found a gear I had no idea existed in my body. I was on fire! I flew up that hill; rounding a corner – pounding with all my might. I just blew past everyone.

Mom found me with a hug at the top of the finish chute; and, victory was never that sweet.

Years later, in 1985, we found ourselves in a collective limbo literally waiting for Mom to die. We still lived in Springfield, Virginia. I had graduated from college in May of the previous year. While I was building Cooks Transfer /1 I had dropped into heavy training again. I ran, swam and biked for hours each day just trying not to think about her wasting away in our front room. That training foundation and a built up resevoir of strength are what prepared me a few years later to become a professional Triathlete.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork
1/ To put this into perspective, read my Blog entry “Ayn Rand and Me” at

4 Comments to

“My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength”

  1. Avatar December 4th, 2008 at 2:32 pm Happy Birthday Mom « The Unsinkable Brian Cork Says:

    […] You and Dad still inspire me every day.  “My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength”. […]

  2. Avatar January 2nd, 2009 at 11:29 am Footsteps « The Unsinkable Brian Cork Says:

    […] 3/ See “My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength”. […]

  3. Avatar June 9th, 2010 at 10:10 am two sides rhymes with suicide « The Unsinkable brian cork Says:

    […] and smiling. This is also a reminder that Mom had died the year before (here is some additional background), and Dad was simply never the same after that. So… You can; and, I think you should, read my […]

  4. Avatar June 22nd, 2011 at 9:11 am The Unsinkable brian cork » Blog Archive » my Mom and Apple pie Says:

    […] this reminds me of my Mom. […]

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell

photos by John Campbell


Share this Blog with friends or enemies (via Twitter). Do it!:

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.



Email Subscription


View Brian Cork's profile on LinkedIn


%d bloggers like this: