The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly affected many people’s lives throughout the past year. Some people have lost jobs, some lost loved ones and in any case everyone experienced some kind of change in their lives. In the last article I wrote, I talked about the importance of feeling connected to others throughout the pandemic and about seeking out the silver linings in dark times. I have kept this idea in mind especially throughout the last few months of my life. On January 7th my mom, Stephanie Feller, passed away at 51 years old, after a three year-long battle with cancer. She was the most genuine, tough, and loving person I have ever had the privilege of knowing. We were lucky enough to have our friends and family together with her in her favorite place, Florida, during her last days. She spent her time enjoying her favorite things including the beautiful water, shelling, and of course her favorite drink, a Blue Moon.

It becomes increasingly hard to focus on the good things in life when experiencing so much sadness. This makes it much more important to be mindful of our perspective on life. I have heard people say that when they lose someone they love that they think about them all the time. I never fully understood this before losing my mom. I think about my mom constantly. Every day I see things that remind me of her. Whether it be an owl, an agate or even the color green that she loved so much, I see these things and I feel she is with me. My mom would always tell me whenever I feel uncomfortable, or I know something is not right, I should listen to myself because I have a strong intuition just like her. That intuition I now know was her and everything that she thought was important to instill in me. I was incredibly lucky to have the mom that I did.

Every now and then, I hear a little voice in my head that helps me out and I know she is with me. Most would call this a conscience but I know mine is my mom. After my mom died, I realized pretty quickly the only thing I could do was to keep going. It would not make my mom proud if I were to sit around and be sad every day. On the other hand, it is okay to let yourself be sad and grieve, but it is more important to focus on the good positive things, even when we do not want to anymore.

It has been really hard to juggle the mentality of positive thinking versus giving in to my emotions. The thing that is helping me balance the two is my support system. My dad has contributed most to keeping me grounded. I am very lucky that I had a mom like I did, and I am even more lucky that I still have my dad. He and my mom were a team. They are soulmates. I have never seen a relationship as full of love and respect as my parents. I am beyond grateful that I got to grow up having them as an example. My dad made sure my mom was exactly where she needed to be, made sure she had the best care and always protected our family. My dad is truly a hero, the biggest part of my support system.

I do not know how me and my family and I could have gotten through this time without the support that we have had from all of our amazing friends. My mom’s friends are some of the most wonderful people I know, and when I am with them, I feel closer to her. They are sweet and strong like she was. My mom was tough. It never mattered to her what anyone else thought about her. She always stood up for herself and her family fiercely and never took any bull shit. She was loving and kind to everyone but she also
always said exactly as she thought. Her sureness, I like to believe, she passed on to me. One day I want to pass that on to my children as well.

The lessons my mom taught me were enough to last a lifetime and I am grateful for all of the time that I was able to spend with her. When looking for silver linings in the last few months, I think about the time spent home from college during Covid. At the time, I was angry about coming home. Like most others, I felt that my life had been put on hold during this time. After the initial annoyance and change of coming back, I was able to see that the time throughout Covid I spent with my mom was truly a gift. No one could have known exactly when my mom would pass, and at that time she seemed to be doing well. Even at the very end she had a full head of hair, thick eyebrows and the biggest smile you have ever seen.

I hope that everyone remembers my mom as the happy, strong woman she was and not thinking of her in any sadness or pain. I spent the last months of my mom’s life with her and my family and that is something that I am forever grateful for. I will always carry those memories with me. This time at home made me more in touch with reality and reinforced that the most important thing in my life is my family. I have many things to be grateful for and focusing on these silver linings makes the darkness just a little bit brighter.