Mom always said: Work hard. Be yourself. Always do the right thing.
After my mother's death, I promised to do my best because I know that's what my mom would want.
It's been 12 years as of tomorrow since my mom died. 12 years ago I never wanted this day to exist. It's here and while I can say it doesn't get necessarily easier, it definitely gets different.
So much has happened in 12 years and so much more will happen in the next 12 years and the 12 years after that as well.
There's so much of my life my mom has missed and will never be here with me to experience. She hasn't seen me grow in my career. She won't be around to help me pick out my wedding dress. She won't ever hold a child of mine.
I have decided though that this is an opportunity to celebrate the time I had with her and the lessons her death taught me.
Her death taught me:
1. To lean on family and friends because they will be there for you, whether it's when you mess up, need someone to rant to or need a shoulder to cry on.
2. How strong I am. I can not only deal with whatever life throws at me but I can overcome it and come out stronger in the end.
3. Life isn't fair. This is a fact that won't change no matter how much I would like it to. I had to learn to look past the unfairness and find bright spots. I had to learn to focus on those instead.
4. LIFE IS A GIFT. This is the most important one for me - her death taught me that every moment counts. It reminds me to tell others to keep their people close. It reminds me to tell those I love that I love them.
I am forever grateful that my mother's last words to me were the same as my last words to her, "Goodbye, I love you."
My mother's death was a lifetime ago and just yesterday at the same time.
It was the worst moment of my life but it taught me the most about myself and I treasure every moment I had with her. So this anniversary I will honour the incredible life she had that ended too soon and the way she shaped me to be the woman I am today.