Hi friends! Thanks again for popping by my blog.
For those of you who don't know, I lost my mom almost 5 years ago to cancer. How time flies, I am blown away even typing that. My mom was a wonderful woman, and I am not just saying that because I have to, or because she was my own mom. She was very special and had the ability to make others feel seen and heard... and laugh! She was so funny and quirky! When I close my eyes and imagine her, I always imagine her laughing. The more I think about it, the more I realize how that is such a special way to be remembered. As more time passes, I can still hear her in my head with all the wise words she said and I catch myself saying, HOLY SH*T, SHE WAS RIGHT!
Here we go...
1. "As you get older, you will be able to count your good friends on one hand"
She didn't mean you will only have 5 friends, but as you get older, it definitely becomes about quality over quantity
2. "You will love your natural hair when you are older"
This might seem shallow when just referencing hair, but I think it is a metaphor for loving yourself entirely as is. As you grow up, you may go through phases of trying to be something you are not, trying to look/act way whether that comes from insecurities, people pleasing, whatever! But as you get more confident in your own skin, you will see you love the things you had inside (or outside) all along
3. "When things feel off, do something normal"
She said her dad used to say this often and I found myself following this when Jack was a newborn (when life is far from normal). This could mean washing my face, watching a movie I love, having a hot bath. Doing something that is normal can be very grounding and allows us to mentally refresh. I was having a conversation with one of my friends the other day and she said during hard times she finds that taking her dog for a walk makes her feel like everything will be ok and I immediately thought of my mom.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, compartmentalize. I wrote a blog post touching on that last year. I often think about this concept, stop what I am doing and take baby steps. Ironically, this "baby step" approach has helped me with being a new mom
5. "There is a Solution to Every Problem"
When I find myself in a crappy situation, I hear her saying those words and I take a step back and realize there always is. It might not be the initial plan or the best course of action, but there is ALWAYS a solution of some sorts.
6. "Take Care of Your Skin Now!"
She was a broken record with this one and always told me how my grandma would always wear a hat, sunscreen + had a diligent skin care routine from a very young age. I did not fully care about this idea until the past 5 years + keep thinking that I wish I listened earlier! I am very diligent with my routine and try not to get much sun during the summer but I used to love getting as tanned I could without fully grasping the impact it was having.
7. "SH*T HAPPENS!"
My mom always said she wanted to write a book about life lessons. She wanted the opening page to tell the story about how she lost both of her parents before she was 25, and on the way home from one of their funerals (when she felt the lowest she had ever felt) a bird sh*t on her head and how she couldnt help but fall to the ground, laugh + take it as a sign from the universe that sh*t happens but it will be okay! Which brings me to my next point...
8. "Laughter is the best medicine"
If you know me or my family personally, you know we LOVE to laugh and make others laugh. Seriously, there are so many members of my extended and immediate family that are hilarious. We have an ongoing debate as to who is the funniest (and the fastest swimmer) in my family. I personally think it is me for both of these categories hehe. Anyways... it became very apparent how much my family laughed when my mom was sick and how much it lifted all us up. I have said this before and I will say it again, I really think laughter extended my mom's life. When diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she was given 6 months to live and lived for 16 months. It did not break her spirit and many, many laughs were had along the way.
9. "Always Take The High Road, You'll Be Better Off For It"
I talked about this in a post last year, it is one that I am still working on hehe. It takes a lot of strength and energy, but she was right! Taking the high road doesn't mean you are less of a person or that you lose.. it means you care more about your own inner peace than anything. Once again, still working on this one!
10. Finally, when I asked my mom during her cancer battle what she learned the most, she said "people are good". They really are. I felt that a lot when people rallied around me when she passed away. Which brings me to my next point...
11. BONUS ONE! Go to that funeral or visitation
This may seem pretty random, but this is something I strongly believe makes a bigger impact than you think, because I know firsthand how it feels. My mom was the queen of reading the obituaries (not in a twisted way, in a truly genuine way). She wanted to make sure she knew when her parent's friends, etc. passed away. She would go to funerals or visitations for everyone to show her love and support (and when she did, she made people feel so comfortable). My husband sometimes thinks it is weird when I want to go to visitations for people's loved ones that I had never met. My response is that I will always remember the faces that showed up to my mom's visitation/funeral and it meant the world to me. People I hadn't seen in decades, people who I barely knew, people who I did not expect in a million years to be there, showed up to support me and my family, and it was so touching. Thank you to any of you reading this, you made more of an impact during the hardest days of my life than I could ever articulate. So I will leave you with this... if you avoid going to these events because of fear, social anxiety, going alone, not knowing what to say, feeling awkward, etc. JUST GO. You will never truly realize the impact it makes until you are in that situation.
LOVE TO YOU ALL + ESPECIALLY TO MY BEAUTIFULLY WISE MAMA xx