I learned a combination of things from my mother. I learned to not give up, to brush things off and smile, and trudge on. Don't let things beat you. I also learned that it's okay to be alone. Though it's nice to have a life partner, you can have a full and wonderful existence without one. True strength comes from within us, not from a person by our side.
I'll explain this strange thought of mine...
My mother had breast cancer a few years ago. She was going through a divorce, she lived thousands of miles from me, and except for a handful of family members, she faced the disease alone. When I say alone, I mean, without a partner to speak to you in the darkness of night--that moment just before sleep when it feels like the weight of all your troubles are suffocating you--that's when most of us turn to our partners and whisper, "I'm scared."
That's when the tears fall, when nearly no one but the person we choose to see us at our most vulnerable is there to see.
She faced death, chin up, and defied it...alone. She had surgery, not once, but twice. She had radiation for six weeks. I mean, I look at her now during some of my darkest and most frustrated moments and say, "Well, gee, my mum faced cancer and said "screw you!", surely I can tackle this tiny obstacle.
Chin up! Defy! Trudge on!
I have to remind myself of this many times in my life and she is my inspiration.
My mother never incited a revolution. She didn't join marches for causes or make a ton of money. She never did anything that will go down in history books, but her strength and courage inspires those around her. Sometimes that's all it takes. A small ripple in a big ocean and her ripple becomes a wave. And a wave...is powerful.
Happy Mother's Day.