My Mom passed away on May 2, 2017.
We were very close. She knew most of my secrets. She gave me great advice. We kicked it. We laughed. We cried. We shared so much that no one else will ever know. She was one of my best friends and favorite people ever. Like…ever.
My Mom was an amazing woman of strength. She endured an adulthood full of sickness, yet she accomplished so much in her time here on Earth. She told me that she was going to get a college degree. She did. She said that she was going to become involved in the community. She did. She said that she always wanted to help young people. She did. She said that she wanted to touch people with her story. She definitely did.
To know my Mom was to love her. She was a fun-loving, easy-going nerd who enjoyed learning and who reveled in having a good time. She enjoyed giving…she remembered birthdays like a pro and always came up with something for the birthday boy/girl. She remembered things that people liked and she was also so conscientious about the things she gave. Her thoughtfulness is something that I’ll always treasure and will spend the rest of my life trying to emulate.
In her honor, I want to share with you some of the lessons that she taught me and that I, prayerfully, will pass on to my daughter.
1) Enjoy Life. Through all of her struggles with sickness, my Mom made it a point to enjoy her life. I remember when we were discussing New Years 2016 plans and she said “I wanna see some fireworks.” I was surprised because due to her seizures, she couldn’t tolerate bright lights and flashes. I said “Are you sure?” She nodded and we made plans to go to Opening Night in downtown OKC. Earlier in the day, she called me and exclaimed loudly “You ready to go, girlllllll?” I laughed…her excitement was so infectious! We bundled up and headed out. She enjoyed the live band and even though we were absolutely freezing, she kept commenting on how much fun she was having! When it came time for the fireworks, she put on some dark, pink-rimmed sunglasses and turned her head to the sky. She watched the entire show with a smile on her face. I was so busy staring at her, in awe of her strength, that I missed a good portion of the show. She made me so proud that night.
No matter what she was going through, my Mom made it a point to find a silver lining and she made sure to celebrate her victories. She celebrated life. She enjoyed living. She wanted to get the most out of her existence that she could and I sincerely believe that she accomplished that.
2) Create Your Own Peace. Peace is 100% in your hands. Mom would always tell me that there’s nothing wrong with staying to yourself, by yourself. She would say that she’d rather have peace than a life full of drama any day. I believe she felt that way because with everything she went through, finding and enjoying peaceful moments was her way of coping. She truly had the kind of peace that surpassed all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). She shied away from strife…she wasn’t a fan of unnecessary arguing and pettiness. She enjoyed her alone time because it allowed her to exercise her faith, strengthen her fortitude and reflect on her life. My Mom didn’t tolerate foolishness simply because she wasn’t interested in it. She wanted peace. Regardless of her feelings or opinion on certain things, she often left situations alone because she didn’t see how inserting herself and her opinion would change anything. People are people, she would say. People are who they are. I apply that to my life in many ways. I shy away from unnecessary conversations and confrontation because my intentions are often misunderstood. Rather than try to explain myself (or change someone else’s mind), I allow the other party to do and say whatever they like. Why? Because I know that I control how I react to them and I won’t allow anyone to mess with the peace I have worked so hard to get.
3) Chase your dreams. This one is pretty self-explanatory. My Mom always supported my goals and she was at every celebration, graduation and speaking engagement that I had. She was always telling me to set goals and celebrate my accomplishments. My Mom had a way of being happy for people without inserting her personal feelings into their celebration. Her support was unique in how genuine it was. She clapped, cheered and rooted for those close to her and she made it a point to be at every happy occasion possible. Her happiness for others was so unselfish in its purity; many people could learn from this. In short, celebrate people without consideration of your own feelings of perceived inadequacy. I think the reason that my Mom was so happy for other people because she knew that she was accomplishing things of her own and that it would be her turn to celebrate at some point. She wanted people to return the same happiness for her that she gave to them.
4) Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful. My Mom was gorgeous, physically. That’s for sure. Yet, her unique brand of beauty didn’t come from her beautiful eyes, her full lips or her high cheekbones. Her beauty came from resilience, strength, generosity, meekness, endurance, happiness and love. These things enhanced her special beauty. She always encouraged me to make sure that my inside was beautiful. She continually reminded me how physically beautiful she thought I was, but she always told me that she appreciated who I was on the inside. She referred to me as her “Mini-Me” in more ways than physical. I definitely inherited some of the traits that I listed above, but the life that she lived enhanced those traits and so much more. Everyone has their own exclusive kind of allure that is made up of who you are, what you’ve been through, what you’ve learned, what you’re willing to give others and what you dream of. To me, my Mom was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.
I could spend the rest of my life blogging and I would never find enough words to express how thankful I am to God for allowing me to have someone as incredible as my Mom in my life for 34 years. I miss her beyond words, but I am so incredibly honored to have come from her and to have been loved by her. Mommy, thank you for everything you did for us. We could never repay you, so instead, we choose to honor you by sharing and cherishing the lessons and memories that you’ve given us. I pray that the things you have shared with me will live forever in my heart and that they will last for generations to come.
Until we meet again.