Nine years ago, on 12/6, my mother passed away. Today, 12/7, she would have been 89 years old.
I was very lucky to spend a great deal of time with her during her last 3 years of fighting cancer. She and I would spend endless hours talking about any/every subject. She taught me so much throughout my life but not always with lectures. Her daily actions were more influential than her words.
Mom was a great listener. For years I thought she had the answers for the troubles I brought to her but in truth, she only asked leading questions allowing me to work them out and come up with my own solutions.
She had a dry, quick wit and always delivered a retort with precise comedic timing which caused you to laugh out loud as she would mischievously grin at the fact she caught you off guard.
Mom once explained death to me through a story. “Look at your shoes across the room on the floor. Can they move around the room without your feet in them”? Of course I agreed they could not. “You have a soul. That soul and its energy is always with you. On earth, whatever you wrap yourself in comes alive. When you put your foot in your shoe, you bring it to life, it’s apart of you.” “Your soul brings your body to life too. When you leave your body, you do just that, leave your body; but your soul continues to live”.
She also believed that everything that happens in your life, happens for a reason. Every person you meet is there for a reason, too. You may not know what those reasons are? They might be in your life to help you or maybe it has nothing to do with your journey. Maybe you’re in their life to help them? It is not our job to figure that out either. Our job is to do the best we can everyday, mistakes and all, and live to our best potential as we contribute to the lives of others.
When Mom passed away, I missed our talks. On more then one occasion, I found myself reaching for the phone to call her. One day I decided to buy a small journal to keep in my handbag and write everything I wanted to tell her. This 3×4 book was the beginning of new conversations…with myself. Rather then write sad, negative thoughts I decided this book would reflect Mom’s mantra; “It’s not the challenge you face but how you face the challenge”. It would be filled with only positive, humorous, inspirational words, thoughts and phrases that I could catalog and reread when ‘the going got tough’ and I had to ‘snap out of it’.
There are now four ‘little books’ and little did I know then, those entries would be my lifeline today. I randomly page thru and stumble on an old entry I swear Mom mystically highlights.
Although some entries are original, there are thousands of quotes and inspirational thoughts from friends, family, poets, world leaders, comedians and a few sayings from my favorite Hallmark cards.
Tonight I found an entry dated this week in 2010. Corey and I were living at Bryn Mawr. She was two months post injury.
‘Today has a reason. Even though the circumstances of today are not what I would choose, today has a reason’.
‘I can live with love, joy and receive fulfillment only by choosing to live in today’.
‘I won’t find these gifts in isolation. I need others to learn from, laugh with and share my day. That is the value found in the day. The reasons will reveal themselves’.
Challenges will continue to appear everyday; that’s life. But, if we take a minute to pause and choose the approach of looking for something positive within them, it will be much easier to battle each one.
“Pick your battles”, right Mom? I don’t understand any of the reasoning behind the last four years but I do understand I can’t be like my shoes sitting lifeless on the floor across the room. I have to continue to focus on wrapping myself around the positive energy of living life, today.
Thanks for reminding me to celebrate life, Mom. Call you tomorrow, xoxo