One of the most inspirational people in my life is my mother. She has shown me time and time again through example that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself, reach for your dreams, and begin anew.
Growing up, my Mom was abusive. She would scream, she would yell, she would hit, she would belittle, and she would humiliate. At the same time, she was fiercely loyal, affectionate, loving, tender, and a tremendous mother.
I was around 11 years old when my mother made a commitment to my brother and I to never hit us again. She wanted to learn to be a better mom – a better person, and a better woman. And she did! She didn’t just talk the talk – she walked the walk. An unbelievable feat to accomplish – she read books, she took courses, saw a therapist, and did the work. She reinvented herself and became a woman, mother, wife, and friend she could be proud of and love. And she was true to her word and never, ever hit us again – even though I tested her and pushed her to the limits. Beyond the physical abuse, she also changed how she spoke to us, how she communicated, how she treated all of us on every level – it was a complete transformation. In doing so, my Mom showed me that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself – all you need is a will to do so and a commitment to do the work!
My Mom had a dream – to earn a bachelor of arts with a major in psychology. But, living in a small, rural community with the closest university two hours away, a fulltime job, two children, and a husband – it seemed like an impossible dream. But that didn’t stop her. For 13 years she took a course a year when a professor would graciously drive to our small town and give an evening class. She knew at that rate it would take her years to earn her degree, but she didn’t let that dissuade her from putting one foot in front of the other towards achieving her dream.
After my father was killed in a car accident in 1991, she took a year off work and completed her final credits of university through correspondence. In 1994, she finally walked across that stage, received her degree, and saw the culmination of 15+ years of determination and dedication – never wavering from her goal. In doing so, she taught me that there is no dream unattainable if you are willing to believe and do what it takes to get there. Since earning her BA, she’s also completed a masters in adult education.
My Dad was the love of my mother’s life. They had an astounding relationship; a love, a commitment, and a passion for one another that was breathtaking. Anyone who knew them could feel it and see it. To be in their presence was to be in the presence of true love – the kind they try to capture in romance novels and movies.
When he died, it would have been understandable had she crumbled to the ground, sunk into a lifelong depression, and let life and grief eat her alive. It would have been reasonable for her to become angry, bitter, and negative. Now that I am older and am experiencing that kind of love myself, I don’t know how she survived. I don’t know how she got out of bed every morning…but she did. She was devastated and although she grieved for years, she never stopped living. She mourned deeply and all the while she read books on grieving, went to counseling, put herself through her last year of university, moved her family to a larger city, went back to work fulltime, and got another degree. And years after his death, when she felt healed and ready, she started to date. Eight years after his passing, she met the second love of her life and started anew.
In doing so, my Mom taught me that there is nothing in life that I can’t handle and come through as a stronger and more empowered woman. She has shown me that life is for the living and that we can consciously create and recreate our life and our happiness – time and time again – even through the toughest of trials.
When I think of my Mom, I am inspired…and empowered…with a passion for life, a sense of roaring out to the world “I can do anything – I can have it all,” and a true and profound knowing that nothing is out of my reach.
Who inspires you? Why?