My ability to thrive and be great at work is not lessoned by the deep pain from losing my mom. I need to stop letting myself fear that being in pain is weakness, in fact I’ve found strength I didn’t know existed. Every once in a while, I’ll wake up crying or close my door because something reminded me of my mom and it is too much to hold in. So I am writing it down and sharing it because I am not authentic if I don’t share the mess under the sweater vest, which one day I’ll write a book and that’ll be the title.
I was visiting my mom one time while I was in undergrad at Georgia State and I just finished The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. The book is his speech from his last lecture at Carnegie Melon as he left his role due to Pancratic Cancer. I told my mom about the book sitting on her couch in the House Mom suite of the Delta Zeta house at Texas State. She asked to read it and so I left it with her. I am now left to honor the empty seat left by Pancreatic Cancer, which took my mother from me almost two years ago
It is not fair and it not right that a woman who suffered through so many twists and turns and burns in life should have to face an early end. The thing is for a while now I’ve been living with the rage left in my heart, but it’s time to live in her memory and to honor that empty seat. I am accepting this new reality (because my therapist says it’s important part of grieving) that I feel deep pain and deep joy simultaneously.
As I accomplish new milestones that missing seat will be there and the tears of joy and pain will mix together. I have dreams of taking on my first (insert role here) and being hooded when I finish my Ph.D. in 2022 and to know my mother won't be sitting out in the crowd hurts. That hurt has made me stronger, it has made me a better friend, and it's made me a better professional. I lived through her death so living on is my responsibility.
Here's to all of us who are living with empty seats and working every day to make them proud. Here’s to kicking fall 2018’s ass with tears, laughs, love, hurt, and healing.