Loss… some people are blessed and never really know true loss until they are well into adulthood. Others seem to be surrounded by it at a young age. I unfortunately am one of the later. At the ripe age of barely 16 I lost my mother. This is something I almost never talk about and something I hardly admitted or told a soul until everything happened to Matt. I fully believe that almost losing Matt forced me to fully process everything in a new way and I started to make peace with it.
Butterflies symbolize resurrection, a spiritual symbol of life after death. I think that it is no twist of fate that this summer as I ran my normal boardwalk route, a beautiful Monarch butterfly followed me, landed on my nose and swarmed around my head. I fully believe that was my mother telling me while not physically, spiritually she was there for me in one of the most trying seasons of life as I navigate what is next for me in my career.
I thought of her telling me the story of my premature birth and how she had spent a late night at the office a month and a day before her due date with me because she thought that then she would have a whole month to prepare for her new daughter. Surprise! I came approximately 12 hours later, when she went to the hospital in pre-labor pain, they lost my heartbeat and immediately induced. She would always say I was a pain in the ass from day one in her perfectly sarcastic way laced with her Philadelphia accent. As that butterfly fluttered around me circa mile 3 I thought Mom, are you showing me how you can be that pain in the ass too and laughed hilariously as we played and harassed each other for the next few miles. The butterfly would flutter in, I would look at her, she would fly away, repeat. Just like old times driving each other insane but still filled with so much love and joy.
I fully believe I became the strong, independent woman I am because I lost her at that crucial time when a girl needs her mom most, when girls are becoming women. There were many things I did and continue to do because I observed what she did, so Mom if someway, somehow you are reading this out there in the universe I have learned as much as I could from you postmortem.
I would love to share some things that I feel are true Roxanneisms and things I would never have known without her being my mom. I never needed no man and a huge smile creeps over my face as I type that. My mom, while married to my father at the time of her death, taught me time and time again that you do not need anyone to take care of you in life. You can and often will have to take care of yourself so you might as well learn how to do it right. She encouraged me to never date someone solely as a way out of anything or a way to something, for I feel she felt she had made that mistake and couldn’t undue it. I fully believe she resented being stuck at home all day alone, as my father gallivanted around the world working and dictated to her what she could and could not buy. I witnessed this and vowed to learn and not make the same mistakes and when she told me that she did not get married to be alone I comprehended what she said. Find a partner that wants to and can be around you and in order for that to be feasible find a career that will allow you to take a few years off if you choose to have children, but that you can go back to if you need or want to and for god sake always have enough money saved that if you need or want to leave you can! Never lose your passion in or for life. My mom loved art and to draw, but she took the practical route and turned down a scholarship to an art school to become an accountant. However, she never stopped drawing until later in her life when she became very depressed. I often wish she had continued it, as I know now that having passions in life is what keeps us alive. I think she searched most of her life for another hobby… tennis, walking, but nothing compared. Be educated. Get the best education you can and never deny someone that gift, for it is the greatest gift you can give someone. Never forget what your knees are for. This one has come in handy in my life, as I have taken jobs many of my friends have deemed they were too good for because they had college degrees or a certain pedigree. I have truly never believed that there was a job beneath me and that is because of her and her mother, my nana. Take care of yourself. My mom was so worried about my brother and I that she never took care of herself. She had not had a physical in years before she got sick and as I have learned, had she gone to the gynecologist ever after having my brother they most likely would have caught her cancer before it was too late, so just take care of yourself in every possible way. Try your darnedest to not get bogged down by life and if you do seek help. My mom was very unhappy in the last years of her life and I know now just how much our mental, spiritual and physical health are tied together. I wish she had reached out to someone, anyone and shared her sorrows or that it had been the current time and she could have found the peace, solace and spirituality I have found in yoga. I think she would have been a true fan. Be kind, but not too kind. My mom would have given you the shirt off her back if you needed it, as long as you treated her and others with kindness and respect as well. Never let some one walk all over you as she would say. Don’t take life too seriously and never be afraid to laugh at yourself. My mom had a contagious laugh that my lifetime friend still remembers to this day. She used to tell me you can laugh about it or cry about it, but most of the time you’re better off laughing. There are a million ways that I think and have thought of her throughout the years, but these are some of the key things I feel I have learned from her.
Loss, especially of your parents, at any age is never easy, but I have found solace in knowing that I know my mom would above all want me to be happy. She is my motivation in finding a career that really sets my soul on fire. As I have grown up there have been so many times I have wished she was there and many major life events that I have had to navigate without her. However, I do feel blessed that I have never truly felt alone or that she left me because while I maybe part of the motherless daughters clan I have been fortunate enough to continue to learn from her. I hope for my other motherless daughters and people who have experienced loss that you are strong and hopeful enough to find that silver lining and know that while the people we have lost may not be able to physically be with us they are always with us spiritually.
” Life ain’t always what it seem to be
Words can’t express what you mean to me
Even though you’re gone, we still a team”