Yesterday was the International Day of Happiness. What an interesting coincidence that it falls on the anniversary of my mom’s passing, which was fifteen years ago. Wow, how time flies!
That day was obviously not a happy one for me, but all of my 34 years leading up to that day were filled with adventure, fun, laughter, a few tears, and a whole lotta love!
My mom and I had a great relationship. She was always there for me. Always loved me and supported me, no matter what. I wish I had realized at the time the full extent of her sacrifices before she passed away and thanked her while she was still here.
But since I can’t go back in time, I will remember her by sharing some important life lessons she taught me.
1) Have courage
When my mom and dad split up in 1984, she took the opportunity to move to a new home. And by that, I don’t mean just a new house around the corner. I mean a new province, 1,100 KMs away! Away from all that was familiar to her and all that she knew.
For her, it was the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
With two young kids in tow, she set off on the most amazing life adventure and never looked back. In the 24 years that the 3 of us lived this adventure, I don’t ever remember seeing her show any sign of fear or regret. She always saw the positive side of life and displayed courage in all she did.
I never realized the extent of that courage until I, too, became a single mom, and that lesson from her will forever be with me.
2) Always show love
Her love for my brother and me was constant and strong. Always there. No matter what. She could not have loved us any more than she did.
Even when we didn’t really deserve it, which is probably when we needed it most, she showed love.
She also showed love for herself by getting involved in things that were important to her, like joining Toastmasters and working her way up to the top. She took time for herself when she could and didn’t stay in unhappy situations long.
3) Be strong
Through thick and thin, she remained strong. I'm sure she had her own struggles, as we all do, but she never put those on my brother and me. She always handled them with grace.
She had an amazing support system and this gave her people to lean on for love, guidance, and support when she needed it.
Surrounding myself with people who love and support me has made a huge difference in my life and there are things I never could have accomplished without that.
4) Smile whenever you can
It wasn't too often I didn't see a smile on my mother's face. I miss her smile.
Smiling makes us feel good, both as the giver and the receiver. Don’t believe me? Try being cranky while smiling. You can’t do it, can you?
5) Support those who matter to you
No matter what my brother or I decided to take on in our lives, she was right there cheering us on. Like when I joined the biathlon team in grade 11 and made my way to the Canada Games in 1991. She was my biggest fan!
She also didn’t judge or push me to do things I didn’t want to do, although looking back, I wish she had sometimes, but I know that she did the best she could with what she knew.
6) Give hugs
Her hugs were the best. She would never let you leave without one. Not that I ever wanted to anyway.
Getting a hug from someone I love is like getting an extra boost of energy! They make me feel good and are the best recipe for getting me out of a funk...well, that and chocolate.
7) Don’t wait because tomorrow may never come
Mom and I were very close and I have such great memories of our time together. But even as close as we were, now that she is gone, I sometimes think about things I wish I had shared with her.
I wish I had talked to her about my failing marriage. I know she would have had great advice and would have been there to comfort and support me. But I guess at the time, I was hiding this from everyone, including myself.
I wish we had taken a trip together. One of my mom’s biggest dreams was to go to Spain, but that dream never came true for her. What a trip that would have been!
Thank you for letting me share these lessons with you and letting me reminisce about my mom.
She is with me in spirit, and will always be in my heart.
If you didn't get a chance to yesterday, on the Day of Happiness, I’d invite you to take some time to think about all the people in your life who make you happy. If they are still with you, let them know how much they mean to you.
Don't take your loved ones for granted. They need you just as much as you need them, so make it a point to spend time together, doing fun things and making happy memories.
What life lesson have you learned from your mom? Please share in the comments!
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