My beautiful mother died unexpectedly New Year’s Day. In reflecting on her life and my father's, he passed away five years ago, I thought about the lessons I learned from both of them, good and bad, that I can live by.
Never ever give up. My mother was the strongest woman I have ever known. She used her tenacity and strong will to get through some of the most difficult problems any person can face. Even at the end of her life, she chose how she wanted to go.
Dream big. Both my parents dreamed big even if at times it was unrealistic. It’s better to dream and to believe than have not dreamed at all.
Be a leader. I found out this week about some pretty incredible stories about my mother and the things she did as a young woman. Leadership is not about education or even knowledge, it’s about being fearless.
Family is everything. My mother was all about family. Everything she did was for the family, about the family, and because of the family.
Be brave. Both my parents were young when they came to the United States. They were immigrants in a strange land, yet they persevered and went on to be pioneers.
It’s okay to rock the boat. My mother was the queen of this. If she didn’t like something, you heard about it. She won an unprecedented case in the late sixties. She was fired because she was pregnant. She took it to court and she won. Her last years on earth, she didn’t like how her apartment was maintained. She went to the top and because of her, they improved their entire building.
Explore your inner hippie. Both parents were big in hanging loose, selling-their Shaklee shake, taking vitamins, and exploring new religions and beliefs. My dad made his own yogurt, my mother was into crystals and holistic healing way before it was the in-thing.
Do everything with art in mind. Both of my parents loved the music and the arts. From cinema, to painting, to museums and shows, they were big on the arts. My mother influenced me to go to the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of the Music, Art, and Performing Arts.
Sacrifice your dreams for the bigger goal. My mother gave away a scholarship and my father worked many years to help us get to a better place.
You win some and you lose some. I learned life isn’t always fair from both my parents. They both didn’t get what they wanted in the end. It’s not always right or fair, but we make our own fair in this life.
My mother, my father were my greatest teachers. I hope to be their biggest advocates and to be their hero in living my life fearlessly, joyously, and understanding that love is worth it.