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It doesn’t happen very often that you lose one of your parents in your early 30s. It usually happens, at least we hope, that both our parents grow old to be the grandpa or grandma to our children and they live to share their wisdom and perspective onto those they love. They also spend the last …   Read More

It doesn’t happen very often that you lose one of your parents in your early 30s. It usually happens, at least we hope, that both our parents grow old to be the grandpa or grandma to our children and they live to share their wisdom and perspective onto those they love. They also spend the last days of their lives simply doing the things they could not do before, because of their full-time commitment to their children or jobs. This didn’t happen for me, my mom passed away in my early 30s, so I lost a part me whom I believe I still needed more besides me. My family may be opposed to my writing of this article but the point is when a shocking event, like the passing of your mother happens, it is a life-changing event, as it changes you it is better you become aware of the lessons it brings, because otherwise before you know it you start integrating them into your life or maybe you start to forget them. At this point of my life, I am choosing to share what I have learned, so it can be of some use, at least for reflection to those who seek for personal development:

Learn to appreciate who you have

We tend to think that very bad things in life like facing a terminal disease is something foreign to us. Not only this, but the idea of a terrible event like a terrible car or plane accident on us or those we love may seem not something that we should be facing. Considering these events is often hard to think or write. The reality is: none of us are immune to these events. Therefore, we must see how important it is that we appreciate those we love now. Having conflicts, little arguments, difference of opinions should be put aside and give way for a proper sharing of life, where we make each others’ lives better, be it through the simple sharing of life.

It is never too late to speak with your parent

If you feel your loved one might be facing a serious life risk, or not even this, but anyone whatsoever. Better you speak to them about what you feel towards them. In my case, I was blessed that a couple of weeks before my mother passed away, she had an episode where we thought she was leaving us. We spent a few days contemplating the idea she was leaving us, only for her to come up after a few days. This time gave us the opportunity to reflect of not only how much we appreciate her, but also what we wished we could have said to her. As soon as she was back, I was able to tell her how much I loved her and apologize for every single thing I may have done to make her suffer. I apologized, gave her the time to acknowledge what I said and let her express her feelings for me as well. I cannot even imagine how I would feel now if this moment did not happen. I feel this is something we should do with all of our loves even before we see them at life-risk situation.

What we eat determines our health

Cancer was the biggest culprit for the passing of my mother. Living with a mother with cancer gave my family volumes of knowledge about healthy choices. Some choices are made to alleviate symptoms as you have an ailment, others are choices that are important to prevent disease. This is a larger topic in and of itself, but it is very true that our choices in what we ingest in our bodies, whether it is solids or liquids play a big role in the onset of severe or rather non severe illness from a simple cold to cancer. This is also why I have wrote and will continue to write about red meats, sugar, GMOs, gluten etc.

It is best you remember your lost one with laughter

I had a mother who was usually overly joyful. At the very least, if she was not herself joyful she would do anything so to make sure those around her are, even if it is in on the account of her own happiness and comfort. It does not matter what was your parent’s personality, we all have those happy moments, those moments where laughter prevailed. Those are the moments where you see the true heart of those you love, this is where we must remember those who lost, this is their true essence. I am sure this is how I would like to be remembered myself,

Cancer does not need to mean death

When you first encounter the crude reality that cancer is afflicting one of your parents, it seems like we are facing an unsurmountable mountain. It is like thinking you can domesticate a lion. It seems too big you don’t even consider to step outside the box and think that cancer does not need to equal demise. Modern medicine will have treatments, but there will be a time when they will throw the towel on you. We need to remember that modern medicine does not have all the answers, as such we must look elsewhere for answers; if you are open you will see there are answers.

It is OK to grieve, it is our body’s natural response

When you face the death of someone you love, the psychological impact that it causes is a unique type of experience. It is emotional, psychological and even biological, it leaves you in state where you feel unable to do a lot of things, you also feel like you want to be alone. The pain is in the soul, too. It can also be confusing to feel that way, it also feels terrifying in a way, you ask yourself: what is happening to me? This is all normal, in fact the body must go through that in order to assimilate the pain you are undergoing.

Learn to appreciate what you have

This is not to say you need to be possessive of your things. What this means is whatever it is you value, it most certainly took effort for you to achieve it. At the most basic, having a home, your clothes, your health, the fact there is always food on your table, the fact you live in a country where there are no bombs or planes dropping down that you may have to watch out for. Appreciating what you have is something that allows you to appreciate life itself, after all whether we are obsessed or not about our possessions, these are also the things that make part of our daily lives, perhaps if we appreciate more what we have, we will also discover that we don’t really need much to live.

Share what you know

Although I had already developed a pre-disposition to share what I know, experiencing the last moments with my mother made me realize that how important this is. My mother, like most mothers of her generation, was not so much on social media, she did have a Facebook profile and she liked having correspondence over email. Despite of her limited exposure to the ways today’s internet, my mother was someone that shared generously what she had, whether it’d be food from her plate, money or the never ending wisdom she had in her she collected decades of experience as a teacher, mother, wife and woman. She was happy advising those who came to asked for her advice. I was lucky to have benefitted from her wisdom numerous times.

Live every day as if it was your last

This lesson is perhaps one you have already been exposed to several times, even through movies. It seems like a simple advice when you hear it. However, it is difficult to embrace its meaning in life. This is because there is a deep philosophical teaching in it, which must first be understood to be put to practice. Often, we sadly need a tragic event for us to really understand how important it is to embrace this teaching. It is not only for the reasons of a “unreasonably immunity complex syndrome” we tend to suffer from, when it comes to entertaining the thought of bad things happening to us, it is also because when we do start to live every day as our last, not only we benefit in making everyday a full, enjoyable and memorable day, but also we inject that to the ones that surround us. It is a contagious attitude which unconsciously transmits the feeling onto others.

Death is not the end of life

This is perhaps the most controversial of the lessons I want to share. This is because there is much to do with the concept of belief that directs our take on death. There is also a lot of religious texts, spiritual beliefs, science and skeptical minds at play. I don’t take my lesson from any of those necessarily, although if you want to, I could cite the many reported cases of people who had near death experiences who described that when you are declared dead, life does not stop there. I won’t do this, however, I will take the logical and pragmatical route and choose to want to believe in life after death, because even scientists cannot proof there isn’t. If we cannot know something for certain, then I’d rather choose to believe in life after death, it also becomes a comforting belief when you lose someone you love, because it gives you hope you will see them again and that they are fine where ever they are.   There are actually more than ten things I learned since the passing of my mother, but I chose the ones that are not too personal; those are also important but they speak more to me than to people in general. I hope these teachings will allow for reflection and if you are someone who is currently facing a parent in the risk of death, hang in there, there is always hope! You are not alone.

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