Last weekend, I was sitting in the car with a friend and she said, ‘You know, Necole, you are so selfless. This whole weekend should have been about you, but you went over and beyond to make sure that it was about your friends and the people around you. Do you know how much more you will be blessed’.
And I thanked her but told her that it wasn’t always like that for me. I do admit, I spent a huge part of my life being very selfish. I didn’t know any better. I was an only child. I didn’t learn to look out for other people or take other people’s feelings in to consideration while growing up.
Just recently, while reading the Alchemist, it made me remember my past life, before I started challenging my fear. I lived a very mundane life with a set routine. I would go to work 9-5, get off work, go to school, party with my friends every Friday and Saturday, rest on Sunday and get up on Monday and do it all over again. I was living a simple life, and as part of my daily routine, I would call my mother every day during lunch break to catch her up on what was going on in my life. In all honesty, I spent at least half of the time on the phone with my mom, complaining about things like school, my job and plenty of senseless things that mattered to me at the time but looking back, should have been the least of my concerns. But nevertheless, it was all a part of my routine and it made me feel better.
One day, before my lunch break, I was sitting at my desk and I received a text from a friend. It read, ‘I am so sorry to hear about your mom. They announced in Church last Sunday that she only had two weeks to live’. My heart dropped and I was very confused. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years beforehand and from my knowledge she had went through the required treatment and she was doing well. I then started thinking about how I had called her every single day, but not once had she mentioned this, and even worse, not once had I thought to ask her, ‘How are you feeling’.
When my lunch break came around, I went to the conference room and I called my mother like I normally do. I talked to her as I normally would have but after about ten minutes, I blatantly asked, ‘Mom, are you going to die’? The phone was silent and I know deep down, she didn’t answer me because she was crying and she didn’t want to tell me. My aunt told me later on that my mother didn’t want me to worry about her. She didn’t want me to leave school or leave my job. My heart was broken because in that moment, I realized that I was so wrapped up in my world and everything that I thought was going wrong, that I never once stopped to think about someone else. Not even my own mom.
I left work that day and drove two hours to my hometown where she lived. She later showed me the powder blue casket that she had picked out and the tombstone. She planned her funeral. [Like can you imagine planning your own funeral. It puts a lot of things in perspective]. Five days later, I held her hand while she took her last breath. I was heart broken and for years I held this guilt within me of the time I wasted on things that did not matter. Those moments that could have been spent with my mom. It took a long time for me to get over that and as a result I became very distant.
Meanwhile, after the funeral, I returned to work but my routine was shaken up. I could no longer go to the conference room on my lunch break and place that call. Even today, when something monumental in my life happens, I want to pick up the phone. Share the news and say, ‘This time, ‘I’m not complaining mom. I didn’t like my life so I changed my life. I took risks. I faced my fear. I became a better person. And I didn’t fail. I succeeded’. I want to say all of those things. But I can’t.
I am a true believer that there is a lesson in everything. My mother’s death still weighs heavy on my heart and til this day I am working hard to not make the moment about me all of the time. I learned that it’s never too late to change. if you don’t like your life, change your life. Unfortunately, I had to lose someone very important in my life to realize, ‘what am I complaining all of the time for? I then started taking the necessary steps to build the life I wanted. I eventually quit my job, I moved to another city and I was inconvenienced for at least four years, wondering where my next meal or paycheck was going to come, but I kept at it because I had faith that my breakthrough was near. The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is that the unsuccessful normally gives up just before their breakthrough is about to happen.
I also learned a valuable lesson about death. Live every day to the fullest, as if it were your last. One day, it will be. Our time here is only temporary and as soon as we accept that we are only here for a limited time, is when we will truly live our lives the way it should be.