When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

from When Death Comes ~ Mary Oliver

I knew my mother for almost twenty years.
As of three days ago, she’s been gone twenty-two.

In that time I have learned to be my own Mother.
A good Mother and a CHALLENGING Mother.
I have asked time and again how she would have spoken to me or laughed with me
And the answer is – silence.
I was sad to lose her so early, but also fortunate – it has taught me to be more alive.
More myself, there was no Mother to influence me, so I had to be ME, on my own


In that time I have taught myself things she could not in the twenty years I knew her – to not be afraid, to have courage, to stand up sometimes – even when I’m told to sit, to say NO when I don’t want to do something, to say YES when I really want it!, to believe in myself, to believe that everything is possible.

All things that were hard for her – are no longer hard for me. Maybe, I’ve healed us both in the work I’ve done to Mother myself. I hope so.

Every year I think, “I’ll forget this year”, or I’ll not be reminded of the grief that took me nearly 15 years to overcome. But then April 7th comes around and I think of her, and now, because I am a good Mother to myself, I no longer try to stuff it away, and forget, instead I honor her, even if only in my thoughts.  I honor her –  good and bad – and the life she lived and think about the one she could have had.

I am grateful for having known her and grateful that she left me in time for me to become me. 

Maybe your Mother was there in person, but absent? Or was there and oppressive? Or was never around at all? Or Mothered you fiercely in the exact right way? Or maybe you just don’t relate to one another?

In any case, I think taking care of yourself is a good skill to have.

How do you Mother your own self? 


Sometimes something happens in life that breaks you wide open. It usually has to do with LOVE or a RELATIONSHIPCracked down the middle. Something beautiful happens on the other side of this breaking, but in the moment it’s a brick wall pushing you up against realization, your choice – break open or break down.

When we enter relationship with our work, another person, our family – we sell each other a message of who we are. When the other person, all of a sudden, doesn’t live up to that, or changes, we’re upset by it. What we’re not thinking about, is that it’s not only on them to communicate what’s going on, it’s on us to be paying attention. Sometimes we choose not to, because it might be painful, or we don’t want to change, but whether we want it or not, change is going to happen.

Relationships when they break or change, leave you – alone. One side goes away thinking, did I make the right choice? and the other one goes away rejected.

This is the place –  the point – where one, or both of you, can be broken open.

Breaking open to be forever changed in a meaningful way. To learn something and integrate it into your life.

Breaking down – bitter, angry, vindictive, victimized.  While feeling those emotions is good, holding onto them doesn’t bring change.

Breaking open can transform those emotions into something more meaningful – love, compassion, understanding of yourself and maybe even the world.

When breaking open, you take part of the responsibility of coming to the table with an open mind and heart, not only about them, but about yourself. You are engaged and notice where they are changing and where you are changing and decide if you want to work together, to stayto create a meaningful relationship, or not.

If you’re not in a relationship where this can happen or it’s already ended, it’s your opportunity to have this dialogue with yourself and decide what is right for you and to bring that to your own table.

The world is changing rapidly, in realtime, due to social media, and this change signals that it’s time for all of us to begin having more meaningful conversations and to stop waiting for the other person/people to join in or catch up or become the person you want them to be.

Whether you choose to stay or to go, quit or not, discuss or not – open your mind and heart to whatever you choose and live it, breathe it, feel it, let it transform you. It doesn’t matter if it ends, changes, stays the same, you have the power to make it more meaningful. 

Break open or break down?