My mom was a blonde, standing about 5 foot 5 inches tall with steel blue eyes. Being adopted she and I share no physical traits whatsoever. She’s been gone over 7 years now. The longer she’s gone, the more I see how much, despite the lack of genetics, she influenced the woman and mother I am today.
Our relationship wasn’t easy. We, like many, experienced bumps along the way. Yet she consistently modeled the unconditional love that exists between mother and child. Through watching her, I learned that our lives don’t always turn out as we planned but we possess the ability to rebuild. She forged through a messy divorce with only my grandmother to lean on for support, while carrying the weight of me, her only child, on her back. Amazingly, she managed to make herself whole enough to find love again. Later, I would watch her slowly lose her own mom, first to Alzheimer’s and then to death, but still manage to smile despite her heart aching with grief. In her final years she battled first cancer and then Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular degenerative disease, that would eventually take her life. Through it all, my mother exuded such grace.
My life has paralleled my mom’s in many ways. When I lost her, I remembered that despite my pain, my children would look to my face to see my smile. As my divorce stole the life I had worked for and I was left to carry the weight of my two children on my back, I knew, because my mom showed me, I could rebuild. I too, put myself back together enough to find love again and clung to the hope that my life’s plan would work out. When he passed, I found myself in the biggest battle of my life. In that devastation I held on to the image of my mom, in her own big battle with illness, taking one step at a time, slowly, with focus and determination. And I did just that.
I once read a saying that said, “The people we love leave a mark on our life.” My mom marked me with strength, courage, indomitable will, resilience, the skills necessary to be a mom with unconditional love for my children and the value of both intelligence and education. Before she took her very last breaths here on this Earth, I softly whispered my words of thanks for the person she helped me become. I needed her to know, she left her mark.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom ~ Rest in peace. I’m going to be okay.
Kim Libertini is all too familiar with grief and the Co-Founder of Goodgrief App, the social network for loss available for less than a latte, for download in the App Store, Google Play and www.goodgriefapp.com. You can follow Goodgrief App on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.