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5 Things I Have Learned in 5 years

Today marks the fifth anniversary that my mother passed away. This period has been filled with pain, confusion, sadness and the most challenging event in my life. However, it has brought me the woman I will spend my life with, some incredible skills and lessons I will move forward and maybe most important of all- purpose.


Over the past eight months or so, my goal has been to positively impact as many people as I can. I want people to have a better understanding of themselves, that it is okay to be exactly who you are, and to be comfortable being vulnerable. This purpose derives from May 29, 2016. Some of this is advice to you, while some of this directed towards myself and my mother. Either way, I hope you take everything you can from this.


THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME EVEN AFTER YOU LEFT - THE SILVER LINING


This may come off in a weird way, but I want to take the time to thank my mom for everything she has done for me, both in her lifetime and since her passing. My mother was the most caring and supportive mother, who sacrificed her own happiness and comfort, to ensure my brother and I had as much as she could possibly give us.


She taught us resilience, compassion, sacrifice and a million other things. She was the best and if it was not for those lessons, I would never have gotten by after her passing, because I nearly did not make it. So for that I am thankful.


I wish my mom could have been here for my entire life, I am sure we all do. It saddens me to my core that she could not physically meet Carlie, nor will she be there on our wedding day or when we start a family of our own. She hasn't been there to see the growth of my brother Kyle turning into the man he is today. It crushes me she won't be there to see our family friend Alysa get married this year, who's life she has been a part of since she was born, or meet our cousin Cliff's daughter. There will be so many events in my life that I wish she would be able to experience but the fact of the matter is she won't.


But in a sense, there is a sense of relief that she is no longer here. I watched my mother go through the most extreme pain I have ever seen. I watched the agony of her, physically screaming because it was too much. I know the difficulty of watching my mom not know who I was when I walked into the room, hours after I had been there with her through the night to console her in her confusion. I experienced many things I hope others never have to go through. It is because of those experiences, I am glad she is gone, free from the pain and agony. She did not deserve that, so I am glad she can be at peace.


It is because of her passing however, that I am marrying my soulmate, otherwise I would probably not have stayed in Australia. I have found my purpose in life and am living in it because of the pain I went through. I have been able to help a handful of people thus far, but I have a much, much bigger vision than that. Hopefully one day, I will have helped millions through their own difficulties. Without my mother, this would never have come to fruition.


Life experiences can be exceptionally hard, but it is the silver lining- the lessons in all of them, that shows us the true beauty in life. So once again, for that mom, I am thankful for you.


GIVE MORE FLOWERS IN LIFE


Over the past couple of years, so many people have tragically been lost. The obvious once in a century pandemic is a root cause of this, but there are so many other examples. Chadwick Boseman is an individual I would like to highlight.


A universally beloved actor, whose talent was undeniable was going through an unimaginably, difficult time. He was battling cancer, still working to bring joy to the people who followed his career. When he passed, it was a shock, because his sickness was not publicly known. That is true, selfless courage. After his death, he was constantly praised and revered for his abilities, or "given his flowers." But why not when he was alive?


I know my mom knew how much I appreciated and loved her. How grateful my brother and I were for everything she did and who she was. But I could have said it more. I could have shown my appreciation more. We get so consumed in our own lives, we do not bother to stop and think, "wow, they might not be here tomorrow."


I think of how many people struggle with mental health around the world (1 in 4 adults globally) and I think of how many people care about them. I am not unreasonable, or living in a fairy tale world, I know that we all have our own problems and issues that consume our days. But if we all made an effort to say two more kind things to people to uplift them, think of the impact we would make. If 7 billion people made the smallest effort, the world would see a drastic change.


Make the effort to give just a little bit more. Be the good this world desperately needs, because when someones time is up, that's the end of it. I know she knows how important she was to me, but I still wish I could tell her one more time, just to make sure she knows. Don't let that sit on your conscience.


STOP TALKING ABOUT THE DAMN WEATHER


This was an interesting phrase that one of the most important people in my life said a few weeks ago. Personally, I never heard of it- maybe it's an Aussie thing, or maybe I just had my head under a rock. Either way, it was quite powerful.


He said he does not want people talking to him about the weather. In my mind, I was like, "well that's good because we have apps for that so I don't need to do anything." What he means by it, is don't waste his time talking about things of no importance.


I think it is natural to regret some things in life. We make mistakes, but our regret allows us to learn from them. My sole biggest regret in life- I never once asked my mom what it was she wanted to accomplish in life if she had the chance. She was always pushing me towards my goals and dreams, but never once did I turn that question back to her.


Over the last five years, I have tried to piece together what it was that she really wanted to do with her life- that would have led her to feel fulfilled and empowered. Most people will tell me that she wanted to be a mother and give us the best life. While in a sense I know there is some truth to that, I also know that she wanted more for herself deep down.


After five years, I have come up with one answer- I have no idea what she truly wanted. I know she loved travel and I know she loved helping others, but what she would have done with that given an opportunity, I do not know.


I look back and I regret not having the deepest conversations with my mom. We had our fair share of heart to heart's, and she knew just about everything there was to know about me, but there were still stones left unturned. You would think in 25 years together, there would be nothing left that you wanted to know, but there are more than a few things I wish I could ask her today. r


So I have decided I can stop wondering. Instead, I will use her life and my time with her, to hopefully inspire others and help them through their dark times. She will not go unremembered, but instead, be known throughout the world for the beautiful person she was.


That is the best way I can give my mother her flowers today.


CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT MATTER TO YOU- NOT TO OTHERS


Let me make one thing clear, and I am sure this will ruffle feathers, but it needs to be said. Family is not always family. Family is not always the best group of people for us to succeed in our lives.


A mentor of mine, essentially said this to me last weekend. "If you went up to ten strangers with your biggest dreams and told them exactly what you will do, they would all encourage you and wish you luck. If you told the exact same story to ten people in your family, most, if not all of them, would tell you to give that up and stick with your current job."


Think about that and ask yourself, "why would I listen to people that don't support who and what I really want to be?" Don't get me wrong, there are definitely family members that will truly support you, but there are few and far between.


My point in this is choose to invest in the people who will be there for you, making you a better person. Do not think you have an obligation to others simply because of a shared blood line, or because they have done something for you in the past.


My mom modelled this for me towards the end of her life. For much of it, she was a people pleaser- always doing for everyone else without much in return. Towards the end of her life, she began to set stronger boundaries and doing what was best for her.


When I look back on life, I look at the times she would push me out of the house to go see some friends, even if I did not want to be there. I did not always spend enough time to the people that mattered most to me, in particular my mom.


We did not always get along the best, mostly because we were far too similar, but it never truly mattered because she was one of the people that mattered the most to me in my life. So give those people your time and their flowers and stop worrying about the people that just want to talk about the weather.


IT'S OKAY TO LET GO


Here is the big one that I felt was so difficult to conceptualise. How are you supposed to let go of someone that took such a big space in your heart for so long? We are all going to lose people in our lives that mean so much to us, that's just a fact of life.


The problem we all face, is we hold on to the pain of not having them here anymore, not the love we had from and for them. We torment ourselves, thinking we are holding on to their memory but we are not, we are resisting the grief that is within us. Our grief kills off parts of us from within and shows us how we want to live our lives.


I promise you, it is okay to let go. You are not letting go of the person you have lost. I was so afraid for so long to let go of my mom because I felt I was letting going of who she was. That will never leave this Earth, because she lives within me, around me and through me every single day. When Carlie and I have our own family, she will also live through our children. Give yourself permission to let go of the pain and you will rediscover the love within you.


To all of you struggling with the loss of a loved one, I hope you find comfort in these words. I hope that these hit home to you and you are able to continue to heal and move in the right direction. Your loved ones are with you, irrespective of your belief system. Either from heaven, in spirit or hovering around you, they are watching and they are proud.


To my mother,


Thank you for all of the wonderful things you have brought me. Thank you for allowing me to go through the darkest time my life will ever see because it brought me understanding and experiences that will help so many people in this world. I am sorry for all the nights we spent "talking about the weather," and for not giving you enough flowers. You were and will continue to be the most beautiful person, and I will ensure the people I connect with in my remaining lifetime know that through my own spirit.


I love you. I miss you. But I know you are still right here, and I see all the signs you are leaving to let us know (and also all the little jokes you play on me when I take it too far with Carlie.)


You're forever in my heart and will forever live on.


Love,


Your son.