Mom, one year ago you left us to join Dad and your beloved parents in peace, perfect peace. We know it broke your heart to leave the beloved family who you fought so hard to stay with…because you knew it would also break ours. Cancer took you from us far before your time, like countless others before and after you, but what cancer did not take from us is the love that we share and memories held dear. That love and those memories will be with us until we meet again. You will always live on in us, and through us. Our family’s love has only grown stronger because of the journey through cancer we took with you. You will always reside at the heart of that love, in a sacred place that can never be touched by cancer or death.
A new journey began for me with the last breath Mom took. The giver of my life, my precious parent and friend, corner stone of my world was gone. Two years of surgery’s, chemo, hospitals, hope and fear came to an end. Suddenly the dear person and fight against cancer that my life had been pivoting around were no more. As Moms illness progressed, all other areas of my life faded into white noise in the background. While trying my best to still run a hotel and be present for others in my life on “autopilot”, my true emotional and physical energy were laser focused on seeing Mom through her journey. Now that white noise that had been my life before cancer came flooding back to the forefront with Mom’s last breath. But somehow now I was different, changed. It was like putting on a piece of clothing that no longer fits quite right.
The year since Mom’s passing has been a journey of grief, self reflection and reflection on life in equal parts. Seeing someone you love so much fight so hard to stay alive…because they had so much living left to do, somehow puts life and priorities into perspective very quickly. Many things that once held great importance now seem insignificant or futile, and things that were regarded as frivolous hopes and dreams are now cherished milestones to achieve. What this year of reflection and transformation has boiled down to for me is a letting go of ego, control and rigidity, and the embracing of love, freedom, and authenticity wholeheartedly. It has not been an easy year. I have had to let go of many things that I spent the better part of my adult life building, in order to open up space for new places, people and experiences to enter.
Mom, while I would give anything in the world to have you back with us, know that your passing has been a catalyst for personal growth and renewal. As promised when I started this blog shortly after your passing last year, I will be traveling farther and more fearlessly then ever before, knowing that you are my guiding light from above. As I now prepare to leave for Europe, I am fully committed to living my life passionately, filled with love and wonder in honor of you and Dad. I will be as authentic as possible to the best parts of myself, which come from your love. Your passing was not in vein. We will try to fill the void you have left in our lives with love, kindness, curiosity and happiness. We know that is what both you and Dad would have wanted above all else.
A lifetime of love. Mom and I in 1980 and on her last Mother’s Day in 2016.