June 21- Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. And man, it sure was. I just wasn’t ready to lose her. I wasn’t done having her around. I still needed to make sure I could call her with the most ridiculous questions life has to offer and my children were still enjoying the absurd amounts of candy she gave them without my permission.
It was 2010. I was 28 years old with a rocky marriage and two kids at home. My mother was dying of metastatic breast cancer. The kind of cancer that has a very high survival rate was literally killing her. She got the short straw and I was angry. I picked up my Granny (her mother) from the airport, returned back to the hospital and at 8pm we unplugged the machines. Stubborn as hell, she waited for her husband to leave the room and at around 2:30 am, I held her hands as she took her last breath of life. It was officially June 22, 2010. That was it. Before I left the hospital, I walked back to her room one last time to kiss her lifeless body before it would be returned to the earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It’s true. She was finally at peace. Her pain was over. My life, however, was about to change in ways I had yet to understand. Anyone who has lost a parent (or primary caregiver) could probably relate to what I am saying. It changes you. Life is never the same. The healing process is difficult as it really never goes away. You just need to adjust to this ‘new’ way of life, a drastically different one.
At this exact moment, I felt relief. I questioned that emotion at the time. How could I feel “relief” at the passing of my mother? But really, when you see someone so ill and broken that you love so much, you can see the value in them not having to “feel” anymore. It was about 4:30am when I left the hospital in Syracuse, NY and began to drive east into the sunrise. It was a gorgeous morning and it felt so natural. A new day, a new beginning. Everything was so perfect as she passed that it felt surreal. There’s something to be said about long drives on the highway with beautiful scenery and great music.
After my arrival home and sleeping for about 45 minutes, I was awoken by my curly haired, blue eyed redhead who was so happy to see her Momma home. I had been so busy between summer classes working on my undergrad and helping with my Mom. I was so happy to see her so happy to see me. Children are truly a breath of fresh air when we need it most. They do not even have to be our own! As fast as we could, we planned the arrangements and got them over with as soon as possible. Her final resting place would be next to her father at a beautiful cemetery in Hamilton, NY with a stone that she picked out herself complete with a hummingbird as she loved them so much.
Life goes on whether we want it to or not, whether we’re ready or not. A few months later, I was sitting in my living room one evening having a moment. My house was so quiet and it dawned on me how much I was struggling in this moment of grief. I love clocks. They remind me of many things in my childhood and I just think they’re pretty. I had just made the realization that I hadn’t wound my grandfather clock. The beautiful sounds that it makes were no longer echoing throughout my home. Then I noticed my calendar. I hadn’t flipped the month to the next page since May. It was early September! What had come of me? Was I even participating in the present part of my life around me? My mother would have verbally kicked my ass if she knew how much time I wasted crying at night, sitting in that exact spot, wishing for things to be different. I was a serious broken record and this realization hit me like a brick in the face. The question then became; What if that was me? What if I had only 26 more years to live? Am I living the life I want? If someone told me I was dying, where would I have regret? And from that moment on, I began to make some extremely difficult decisions. Society wasn’t going to define my happiness anymore; I was. There was no way I was going to see passed the silver lining of my mother’s death. Yes, you read that right. EVERYTHING has a silver lining. I paid a big price in losing my mother so young and I need to seek the benefit. Life is short and I had witnessed it first hand. This was an opportunity to look at whatever I was bitching about and fix it. Or change it. Or walk away from it. It wasn’t easy. And it wasn’t immediate. Some of the best days followed along side with some of the worst. But I was finally on the path to “me”.
Here we are, 7 years later. I’m not sure I believe in coincidence but it also takes 7 years for cellular regeneration to occur as well. A process where every cell in our bodies has been replaced by a new cell. Today, on this 7th anniversary of her death, I am sharing with you my next adventure; Unstoppable You LLC. I will honor her life in this new adventure. Her strength is in me. She is the reason I am here. Unstoppable You LLC will integrate my (soon to be acquired) dual certifications in Personal Training and Life Coaching to work with clients on a deeper, holistic level. Total body wellness interweaving the importance of mind and body. I cannot wait! I can hear my mother tell me, “No more jobs just to have a job; This is you, Unstoppable You.” Something I have always dreamt about doing. I’m not currently taking on clients but feel free to join in this adventure over the next few months as I complete my certifications. I can’t wait to begin working with you one on one and help you see through your difficulties and get you back into possibility.
I am beginning things with this page because meanwhile, I do have some amazing adventures set up that I will be sharing. I will also be sharing some more stories of moments like this where something really bad just made me more bad ass. The insights that get me through. The beaten path is not a familiar site to me. And now, this is what I want. I want to inspire you. The experiences in my life (some chosen, some not) are all very normal occurrences in ALL of our lives. I want you all to see that anything in this life is possible regardless of the cards we have been dealt. We live in a life of possibility. There is nothing that can stop us as long as we are alive. Nothing! I will continue to share my stories and insights and I encourage you to join in. Where are you stuck? How have you been unstoppable? I want to know about all of it. We ALL have our stories and here they are ALL welcome. Please share them with me. You can comment them, message them here or snail mail them if you’d like more confidentiality. Whichever way you chose, join me. I excited for our interactions.
I thank you in advance for your support. Some of you I do not know and some of you have been on my team for years. Please help me by sharing. I thank you and I love you. Xx, Heather
Ps. Enjoy this sweet photo of my Mom, Lillian with her first grand-baby, Lilliana.