Today is a special day.
This morning 15 years ago my life changed completely. Everything I knew and expected from the days ahead came to a complete halt, because my mom died suddenly. -And far too soon. Yes she had breast-cancer for the third time and had just gone through treatment, but we did not expect that the treatment would be what killed her and we were not prepared. “We” meant my dad and I. He was going through treatment for cancer as well and all our attention had been on him, because he was the one we expected might not make it.
So there I was. After a phone-call to my mom to check when my dad would be arriving that day I was alerted to the fact that things were not ok. She could barely speak, because she could barely breathe. I was in NY, she was in Denmark, and my dad was on a plane somewhere in between. I could do nothing for her other than ask her to get an ambulance to take her to the hospital and I knew she needed to get oxygen and get there fast. An hour or so later I got the call from the hospital. They lost her in that ambulance. So many thoughts went through my head in that moment and today 15 years later, that morning is still so vivid.
It was certain a day that changed not only my life, but also me. I woke up to something that I had unconsciously known for some time, but ignored. I was not happy and I was working hard on a career I did not believe in. I spent far too much time making other people happy than taking care of myself. Now strangely enough, that is something I had learned from my mom. To do the right thing and be there for others. I had always wanted her to make a change and take more care of what she wanted and needed, instead of living her life taking care of my dad and I, but she always insisted that is what she was there for.
Thank you Mom, I appreciate that forever but it does not have to be a sacrifice. It can be the core strength with which we go through life instead. Since that day I have made it my purpose to teach women (and men) that they can practice self-nourishment, while still what is “needed”. It is not a matter of putting Self last, but rather putting Self first, so there is space and strength to love their families, take care of others, and still work towards something they believe in while learning how to balance career and health. It is not an easy task and I often find myself spending far more time working than I would like to, but I do make sure I make the choice to do so. It is not something I feel I have to do to make someone else to approve of me, it is something I believe in and it matters to me, -that is what drives me everyday.
I think my mom is hanging out in the background cheering on me, but also telling me when enough is enough. The lessons we learn from our mothers are essentially about love and nourishment, and at the end of the day I look back to see if I have been part of creating something that brings us closer to understanding that. To know how important it is to surrender to that basic goodness that is there inside all of us. We tend to think we have to win and conquer to matter, we don’t. We already do. We have to learn to trust that.
My mother and I had to fight many fights with each other but it is in the quite understanding that underneath it all the love was there, it was the core of who she was, it is the basic goodness that we all have, and I still carry with me. And today – 15 years later, the love is still there. Thank you Mom, I miss you but I still have you here with me everyday too. So in the midst of the worst day of my life, something shifted that helped me find myself and why I am doing what I do today. These are the strange blessings of life and when we can let go of the fear of what is going to happen to us, we can learn one step at a time to embrace what happens in our lives, even when it gives us grief.