The day my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer she sent my dad to the best caterer in town, told him to call everybody, pulled out the crystal, and threw a cocktail party.
Two weeks after the loss of her breast, and the almost fatal attempt of reconstructive surgery, due to a rare infection, the mailman handed me an oversea’s package full of bras.
My mother is a practical woman.
She will not have you lamenting and whining about your terrible life. She knows about terrible lives, she had many of those and recognizes them for what they are: A Life. We comfort each other. We talk about our fears and sorrows, but we don’t complain over and over again about our lot. That’s how it always has been. My mother grew up in a time where death was an every day reminder of the actual fact that life has to go on no matter what. That life is for the living. All the little pieces of her heart, lost to each and every loved one’s passing, is very visible to those who know her well. So many are remembered for the beautiful times together, the laughter, and the love they had brought into our lives.
To my mother, the fact of having an artistic daughter fighting with lifelong depression, has certainly been the hardest challenge for this pragmatic, hands on and loving woman. It is hard to watch your child living her twenties as either a secluded monk, or a rockstar on any given day, and not being able to do a thing about it. But the years went by, and the struggles became different ones, and we adjusted. Again recognizing life for what it is, and try our best to be there for one another.
I refuse to imagine my life without my incredibly strong, kind and wise mom.
Just like those times when my husband deploys to war, and I learn of casualties within the unit; that knowledge that the names won’t be released, until the family is informed. 24 hours of waiting in pure horror. I listen to every car driving by, always hoping not to hear the gravel under the big tires of a black Chevy making it’s way up the driveway to our house.
I would tell myself over and over: “I just won’t answer the door! I just don’t. If I don’t answer the door, nobody can tell me anything!” Being a military wife for almost 20 years, I have so far spent 7 of those years waiting, praying and hoping at home with my girls, trying to make their lives as normal as possible, day in and day out. Having experienced how close it hits home in a blink of an eye, gave me also a very different view on death, as well as on life. The awareness of how precious time really is, but also how fast today can be an instant memory, is probably sometimes a little morbid.
But this is by no means a lack of compassion or empathy on my side. Quite the opposite. The ability to feel everything so very deeply, almost in a way where emotions around me seem to have shape, form,color and even scent, is what enables me to see the world in my own little way. As many can probably say about themselves as well.
I want to be soft to myself and others. I want to be strong. I want to be what others need, to make it through what I had the strength for to survive; because I believe that this strength lays within us all.
Along with that sparkle we often need to rekindle for one another! To turn hope, faith, compassion, empathy, tolerance, acceptance, comfort and happiness again into a roaring fire which can be seen from the heavens. For yourself! For the others!
Be a soft, strong woman. Sometimes both, other times just one or the other, but that is ok!
Make sure to be a person, someone else does not even want to imagine living without. That means you breathe fire. Be that way.
Love and Strength as always! Simone’