What I learned from losing my best friend.
Early this morning, my mother passed away. Watching her fight cancer has undoubtedly been the hardest, and most awe-inspiring experience of my life. The journey began four years ago — my mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and within a year, she fought it into remission. Two calm years went by, then the cancer returned. It was stronger than before, and had metastasized to multiple parts of her body, not just the breast. The last few years of her life were a medical anomaly — she lived far longer than the doctors expected, fighting for each and every second until the end. Watching her grapple with this unforgiving, unwanted adventure has profoundly altered my outlook on life.
The concept of closure has been front-and-center in my mind over the past few days, as I watched my mother reach the end. Losing a parent doesn’t come with any instructions; I kept asking myself if I had the closure I needed. I was uncertain at first. But, what I realized today — as I watched her leave the world she worked so hard to create for me — is that my closure came from merely being cognizant of my amazing, meaningful, and authentic 19-year-long relationship with my mom. I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to say goodbye to her, but those 19 years meant much more to me than the last goodbye. If you live each and every moment of your life really enjoying and appreciating all of the amazing people around you, it makes saying goodbye to them a lot easier because there is nothing you left behind.
Regret is a pointless emotion. Life is all about learning and being thankful. Yes, there are plenty of new experiences and conversations I wish I could still share with my mom, but, as sad as it makes me to admit it, I know that’s not possible. Rather than dwell on what we didn’t do, I chose to focus on all the amazing things we did get to do together. The only reason to feel regretful is if you didn’t get enough done in your lifetime. So, if you’re worried about leaving this world with regret or losing someone close to you, make sure your loved ones know how much you care about them and how much you appreciate them. Regret won’t be a part of your life if you live every moment to the fullest.
Death is not the end. There will come a day when each of us will fall to sleep for the last time and not wake up. Each human has roughly 3–5 dreams a night. Imagine going to sleep and never waking up. That would essentially mean you can have an infinite amount of dreams. How fucking cool is that? You have no idea what world you are entering when you pass. You may be embarking on a new adventure that is way more fun, fulfilling, and wholesome than this one — who knows? I am grateful to know that one day, I too will begin that journey and discover what’s next. Hopefully that day doesn’t come for a while so I can continue getting the most out of this life. But, that day will surely come, and I will once again be on the same plane of existence as my mother.
Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best: “Many people feel small, because they’re small, and the universe is big. But I feel big because my atoms came from those stars that make up the universe.” There’s a certain feeling you get when you just stare into the stars in the nighttime. Regardless of our religion or spirituality, at our core, we must recognize that we are all the same. We’re all one big family, with stardust as our ancestors. So, next time you’re looking someone in the eye, stop and think about how the universe is inside of them, just like it’s inside you.
Being a Human.
You will never do anything in your life that defies the odds of being a human being. The odds of being a human being are 400,000,000,000,000 to 1. Statistically speaking, it’s nearly impossible to be a human — so just by being alive, you’ve already won. Nothing after that matters. That figure should put all of our trivial day-to-day complaints in perspective. Think of the 399,999,999,999,999 people who could have been in your spot. Do you think they would trade places with you to handle some small problems going on in your life? Yes, they would. At the end of the day, you could be a fucking ant, but you’re not. You’re a human, so squeeze the shit out of this life that you have.
If there is one thing I hope that everyone can take away from this, it is to always be thankful for the fact that you are alive, and that you have loved ones in your life. There is truly nothing bad in the world. Shit will happen but we are all strong and can all rebound from anything. Make sure the people around you know how much you appreciate them. And always go one extra step further to do something nice for someone else. The more kindness you put out into the universe, the more you will get back.
Today I am not thinking about the fact that my beautiful mother has passed away, but how lucky I was to have an amazing 19 years with her ❤.
I love you mom you’re the greatest human being I’ve ever met and I’ll never forget about you.