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Embrace mother’s lessons

Embrace mother’s lessons

In March’s magazine, Lorin Carpenter shared with us how decluttering your life improves everything. When I read the article, I knew I needed to act and get my life in order. Although I consider myself to be neat and tidy, my life and spaces were encroaching upon me and my mind was cluttered with emotion.

Since January, life hasn’t been the same. My mother-in-law, DeeDee, passed away after having only lived here in Melbourne for two weeks. We had moved her and my sister-in-law, Kathi, here from Louisiana a few days after Christmas so that we could play a more active role in her health care. We weren’t certain how much time we would have with DeeDee, but I know none of us thought it would only be two weeks. Grieving is hard.

During those two weeks, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with DeeDee while she was in the hospital. As it turns out, she was afraid of dying and was refusing to sleep. It was during those hours that she shared the fondest memories of her life, including raising her children.

This was a woman who was filled with courage and determination. Her stories of success and failures were inspiring. I was honored that she was comfortable enough with me to share some of her most trying, yet memorable stories. I took note of the many life lessons. One night she said, “You must slow down, Tracy.” I replied, “I do run a pretty fast race, don’t I?” She said, “No shit, Sherlock. You work too hard and before you know it life will pass you by.”

DeeDee was 82.

On the other hand, my mom passed away when she was just 61. She was the most organized and tidy person that I have ever known. She worked very hard for many years. The examples that my mom set for me were different. I learned a lot about what I didn’t want my life to be like. She was hard on her mind, body and spirit. She was a survivor of sexual abuse.

Although we were close, our relationship was dysfunctional at best. It was a relationship where I was more the mom and she the child. While renovating and reorganizing my office this past month, I came across a book she gave me the year before she died. In the book, she wrote the following: “I hope and pray that I won’t always be so needy and dependent upon you.” Nine years later, I miss the dysfunction!

As I reflect on the lives of both women and the other women who have played a role in shaping the woman that I have become, I realize we are all cut from the same cloth. We are daughters, granddaughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, coworkers and friends. We have endured as well as excelled. We have dreams and inspirations. We are givers and believers.

This Mother’s Day I encourage you to reflect upon the women who have impacted your life and celebrate not only their strengths but their weaknesses. For it is a blend of both strength and weakness that become lessons for the rest of us.  

We all have a story. Embrace yours!




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