There are only a few times of the year that really hit me hard and this is one of these times, right around Mother's Day.
My mom passed to the other side...gosh, it's been almost 9 years come late July!
For those of you who don't know the story, my mom died of brain cancer. She had a seizure on February 28th, 2005 and, after a short burst of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, she quickly spiraled downhill...ended up in hospice care then died late morning on a rainy July 26th of that same year. She was only 52 when she passed away.
I wasn't there when she passed. My brother was there.
My mom was such a giver, even after "the end." She was a donor and wanted to make sure she could still give after her death. The problem with giving organs as a cancer patient is, well...you can't give your organs. But there is one body part they can take. A part of the eye.
Within an hour after my mother's death, they came to take her corneas. Then they took her.
I'd like to think that someone today is seeing the world through my mother's eyes...as it was her last gift she gave. And if they are seeing the world using a parts of her eyes, what they would see is the best in everyone.
Most mothers are givers. And I never realized just how much my mother gave until I had my own daughter. But it's a selfless, giving and endless love that you have for your children. The prospect of giving, from a mother's perspective, is that it's out of pure unconditional love. It's not work or based on obligatory responsibility.
I never considered my mom "smart" when it came to financial matters or business. But it's during the time that I have to recollect my life lessons that I discovered she gave me the very best financial and business education I could have ever hoped for.
For one, my mother was street wise. She grew up in a very abusive household. Her dad died when she was only 13 and then, just after, her mother sunk into a deep depression that included excessive amounts of alcohol consumption. During this time, her mother was in and out of different mental institutions since, back then, this is how psychological problems and alcohol abuse was dealt with at that time.
This left my mother alone to basically grow up on her own with the handful of "brat pack" friends she acquired in junior high and high school. This also made her both street wise as well as able to get along with anyone. Yes, she had this gift where she would and could converse with anyone from a street bum to a multi-billionaire and everyone in between...and people just responded to her.
My mom forced me to become self-reliant, independent, and to listen to my gut pretty early on. No, she didn't neglect me but she did encourage me to work through problems on my own. This would be my first life lesson that would prove to be integral when it came to business and wealth building.
She also taught me how invaluable it was to give. I didn't grow up with a lot. In fact, I grew up pretty poor and didn't realize how poor until I was able to see a different world when I moved to California in junior high school when I got to see how the "other half" lived.
But with as little as we had, she showed me that you always have something to give whether it's a couple of dollars or your time to someone in need. When you give, you're always taken care of. It makes the energy of the "universal wheels" turn in your favor when you give unconditionally and with the true intent on helping someone else while getting absolutely nothing out of the deal and expecting nothing in return.
Another vital lesson she taught me was to always stand up for myself.
I remember being in the 8th grade and this girl -- Nicky Maltabon -- started picking on me the day right before our 2 week Christmas vacation. She essentially ruined my entire vacation because I was worried about whether she'd still keep picking on me after I returned to school in January.
Well, she did keep picking on me until one day I came home crying. My mom told me to kick her ass. Plain and simple. And she said that if I didn't kick her ass, my mom would kick my ass.
So, I went to school and kicked Nicky's ass. In front of at least 30 kids. I remember how hard my knuckles were hitting her head to the point of them cracking.
Not only did I never get picked on again for the rest of junior high by anyone but the news carried over into high school the following year. Nobody messed with me and a few smart-ass boys called me "Sugar Ray" here and there.
My mom was the one who told me to take care of my personal credit. She taught me that people who have good credit have leverage. And she taught me never to over-extend myself. Don't buy things you can't afford.
I see myself passing a lot of my own lessons onto my little girl. I found myself recently telling my daughter that I like the Disney movie Brave because it demonstrates that a woman doesn't need a man to have an awesome successful life of "happily ever after."
Yes, I have different lessons for my own little girl. I think we would like to all aim for making the next generation better in some way...better than how we had it as children.
But it all starts with mom...our entire existence on this planet, good or bad.
So, to all you mommies out there, thank you for everything you are, all the strength it's taken you to get to this point through the roughest patches life has pushed you through, and everything you've been passing onto your little (and sometimes big) kids to, ideally, make our world a better place.
You all make the world go around!
See you at the top!