As I wish everyone a Happy New Year, I also must acknowledge that today January 1 would have been my mother’s 96th birthday. A little over a year ago when we discussed with her how to celebrate her 95th birthday she made it very clear that what she wanted was a party at home and a party that she would organize and plan. Details of the party aside, it should be deemed a success because she was very happy with the outcome and had a wonderful time. This is important, together with the picture I chose for this piece, because it magnifies the true way to remember her on her first birthday not together with us on this earth.
Being happy isn’t always easy. Being happy takes work. You can throw caution to the wind, make very little effort to make your life more fulfilling and pleasing, but the only way you truly stand a chance at being happy is to want it passionately and make the efforts needed to increase the likelihood. This was a lesson I learned from my mother, a woman who experienced hardships that would have broken most of us. I learned this not as much from the words she spoke as much as the actions she took. This, maybe more than anything would be how she would want to be remembered today.
I know from conversations I have had, that my mother’s spiritual impact since she has passed has not only been significant for me but it has been significant for many. Her death was relevant to us all, but her existence for us now is not about death, it’s about a living soul, a soul that has outlived the body and is still very much with us. Is this a reflection of her true pursuit of happiness and fulfillment, or is it the other way around. Was my mother’s powerful spirit, at its roots, what drove her to work to a better and happier life?
I am not sure that question can ever be answered, but I do know this. On this January 1st, even as we miss her tremendously, if we haven’t done so already we should all lift up our glasses and celebrate and smile when thinking about her, not cry or mourn. She gave us a lot of reason to do so and would have wanted nothing less.
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