M for my Mom. My mentor, my BFF. My shero who made me who I am today. Gone too soon. She passed away suddenly following a collapsed lung leading to hospitalization, on a week-long life support and finally, a massive heart attack after internal sepsis.
Right until the moment before she was hooked to the ventilator, she was upbeat and cheerful, even telling me which kurta she wanted to wear when she came back home. Alas, she never did come back home.
We did not speak to her during the last week of her life – oh we talked to her during visiting hours in the ICCU, but she was not conscious.
For months, we would walk into her room as we always did only to feel the vacuum. She was such a huge positive and grounding presence in our lives, always there for us to lift our spirits with a wonderful sense of humor. She led by example – through her generosity, ridiculously selfless, abundant love and non-judgmental outlook on life.
Everyone who knew my mother remembers her with love.
Me, I miss my mother every single day with the same intensity. Sure life goes on, but she’s present in everything I do – whether it is in the kitchen filling jars or kneading dough to make rotis, roasting something, frying something . . . or in front of my closet deciding what to wear . . . or standing in the middle of the room with a broom in my hand . . . I feel her presence. She’s right there, joking, laughing, teasing and whispering, “Shall I make you some coffee?”
Today, I’d like to share some of the most important life-lessons I’ve received from her over the 47 years I knew her and adored her. I’ve been working up this post for a few days now because it took me time to recall these following points.
It is true that we remember the most valuable advice just after we need it. Regret is okay for a short while so long as we can learn from our mistakes and move on . . . towards newer mistakes. Because life is a work in progress and learning is constant.
Here’s what my mother said
- Knowing is great – but what you do with what you know is what matters. Actions speak loudest, you know. Infobesity is common. Finding someone actually putting that knowledge to use – not so much.
- It is better not to worry about what’s not in our control. So focus only on what we can control.
- Don’t try to change someone. Instead, be the best version of yourself.
- Life is short. Live it. Don’t waste time worrying and waiting for the right time to do something.
- Imperfect is the new perfect. Progress matters more than perfection. When we keep moving forward, life will bring good things.
- Failure and rejection are gifts. Forget the mistake, take the lessons and keep moving ahead, giving your best. The goal will get closer. Enjoy the journey.
- Whether you believe it or not, people don’t have time to think about you. They are too busy worrying about their own issues. And if they do care about you, hold on to them.
- Don’t waste time playing the blame game in life. It is just not worth it. Instead, take responsibility for your actions – whether it is success or failure. This way you emerge stronger and more confident. Blaming others is the best way to give away your power.
- Think long-term. Instant gratification is great with minor things, but for the big things in life, do what will keep you happy in the long-term. Maybe you will have to make some sacrifices today for what you want for your future – they will be totally worth it.
- Think about this: do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Most times in life, you just can’t be both. Decide which is more important to you.
- Afraid of something? Deal with it. If you avoid it, you’ll find yourself building a monument for that fear and setting yourself up for being overwhelmed by something that doesn’t even truly exist.
- In life, most of the things we fear don’t ever happen. And if they do, they’re usually not as bad as you imagined.
- Treat time as your most valuable treasure. It is the one thing that is finite. How you spend each moment will determine the quality of your life.
- Believe that there is good in everyone. We do not know what others are going through or what they’ve experienced in the past. Just believe that they are doing their best.
- Prioritize your health. It may sound cliched by health is wealth. Everything else falls in place perfectly when you have good health.
- Don’t ever make decisions when you are upset. Pause. Wait until you are calm to weigh the pros and cons before you make the decision.
- Don’t give up too soon. But that doesn’t mean you must make life harder than it has to be. When you aim for something, give it your best shot. But don’t torture yourself just because quitting isn’t an option. Knowing when to quit matters just as much.
- You can if you think you can. You just have to believe in yourself. You are your best cheerleader.
- Don’t hold grudges. It will drain your energy and keep you from being happy.
- Kindness always, no matter what the situation. At least try!
I am sure you’ve all gathered your own life lessons from the relative or mentor you look up to – do share your favorite in the comments.
After all, we stand on the shoulders of giants, don’t we?
And anyway, the hand that rocks the cradle does rule the world!
The letter M in the A to Z Challenge is always reserved for my Mother.