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5 Things I Learned From My Mom

Today marks the 23rd year of life without my Mom. Here I am all grown up and raising my own children, trying to do the best I can to teach them the ins and outs of growing up. I want her legacy to live on in the values and memories I have from her. Despite the fact that she only had 13 years to instil all her wisdom in me, I did manage to soak some of it up.


Here are 5 things I learned from my Mom

1) Be kind and helpful. Even though she was disabled by the severity of the disease that ravaged her entire body, she would take her pain meds and drive herself to a local crisis centre for women and sit for hours listening and trying to helping those in need. Those women would come to the centre to see my mom because they were trying to escape abusive spouses or to talk about the loss of their loved one. She didn’t go there to talk about her suffering, she found healing for herself thru the act of helping others.

2) Be independent. Being a single mother of 2 children while coping with a chronic illness was not easy. She was forced to lean on her friends and she often leaned on me and hated every second of it. She would call out to me from her bedroom, on bad mornings, to help her get up because her joints had seized during her unrestful sleep. She told me I should learn to take care of myself, have my own money and not to need anyone. While I know that much of what she was trying to say was for me to be self sufficient and survive adversity (which I did, thankfully), her advice also came from a place of deep pain and dark suffering. It took me a long time to learn the biggest lesson from her; there is no shame in asking for help.

3) Love is kind. I learned at a young age to recognize the difference between a kind man and an unkind one. She taught me that I am worth it and that no form of aggression or violence is acceptable. No means no and my body is not a possession. As most of us do, I had to test this theory for myself, a few times but I did find love that is kind thanks to her.

4) Be fit. My Mom was not sick because she was unfit but after watching her body decay in front of my very eyes for 13 years, I came to appreciate how crippling pain can be. As a child the perception of our parents is that they’re “old” but she was only in her 30’s with a body that thought it was 90. I make my health a priority and never does a day go by that I take for granted the ability to get out of bed in the morning, pull the covers off, have a shower and pull a shirt over my head, with no pain.

5) Life goes on. I thought I would die. I wanted to die. I lost everything and then lost some more. I graduated high school with no one to take pictures of me in my cap and gown. I got my first job with no one to call. I bought my first house. I got married. I had babies. I got cancer. I run. I laugh. I sing. I love. I didn’t die because I couldn’t.

I appreciate every moment I was in her presence because thru the pain, I always felt loved and honoured. My memories are fuzzy and faded but her words are sharp in my head telling me daily that I’m doing a great job of living. I hope my daughters know how much of her I give to them.



  1. Pennie McInnes says:

    Tiffany from what I know of you, your love for your family. Your humor, your sacarsasim, your raw truth and confidence…I would say you are acting out all you have learned. There is no way that your girls can ignore these characteristics. You will live in them as your mom lives in you. 13 is a rough age to lose your mom. I think your doing an outstanding job.

  2. Jody says:

    Beautiful, Tiffany. You have faced so much and have thrived. Your girls are lucky to have you as a Mom and I’m proud to call you my friend! PS – You’re a great car dancer!! xoxo
    Jody recently posted..Mancation (Or What May Be the End of My Husband)My Profile

    • Tiffany says:

      Thank you Jody. I feel pretty lucky to have my girls too. PS. I wouldn’t be the car dancer I am today without my back up dancers! XO

  3. Lisa says:

    Dearest Tiffany, After I read this, took a deep breath and wiped the flood of tears, I wanted to acknowledge everything you wrote here and the fact that you did. We have been close I think for the last 17 years, but we have never shared these things and I am grateful for this – more than I can really say. My own pain over the loss of my beloved sister continues to sleep quietly tucked into a place in my heart. Yours is enormous and life altering and bless you for being able to acknowledge the strength and the numerous gifts your sweet mother bestowed on you in her too short time. We (family) have all been forever changed because of it. You are amazing. I love you so very much, xoxo

  4. Beautiful. She would be so proud.
    Love you.
    Kyla@Mommy’s Weird recently posted..$375 Craft and Cook Book Giveaway…My Profile

  5. Jane Grant says:

    Tiffany, dear beautiful special woman, the depth of your wisdom and love astounds me. Your mom, my sister, is brought back to us with your amazing gift of expression your true soul your words. You are so much more than a survivor of unfathomable pain; you are a warrior woman in the true sense of the word. We always knew that your were these things, but your gift of writing your truth shows it to the world. Your children and your husband are blessed with your presence and immeasurable love. Your mom was and continues to be your greatest teacher and protector. Thank you so much for this. Love, Auntie Jane from the rock.

  6. Tara Page says:

    That was beautiful. Your mom did an amazing job, as you are such a wonderful lady, and I’m glad that I have met you. Your kids are adorable, and you are all very kind and generous and brave. I’m so sorry that you have had to live without your mom, but it is amazing to know the huge footprint that mothers leave on their babies, even if they only get to know them for 13 years. Hugs to you.

    • Tiffany says:

      Thank you Tara. Even though I have much distance since she passed, I feel like my kids bring me closer to her memory. XO

  7. Kristin says:

    An amazing tribute. Thinking of you today.

  8. susan walsh says:

    What a beautiful acknowledgement to your Mother. She loved you very much and I was deeply moved by your words my dear Tiffany.

    You are her legacy, a brave warrior woman. I love you.

    Auntie S

  9. I am so so sorry for your loss even if that was so long ago, I don’t think it gets easier. My mom says that childhood doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age (like 18) or when you move out and have children on your own. It is when you loose your parents, realizing that you are really on your own. A beautiful post and a great reminder to really really respect your parents.
    Olga@The European Mama recently posted..Far From The Tree: Expat Children and TCKsMy Profile

    • Tiffany says:

      Thank you Olga. Your mom is a smart lady and I agree that indeed my childhood ended when she died. Good thing for me I still do silly things to make me feel young.XO

  10. Jess says:

    I’ve been living parallel to my mother’s chronic illness and perpetual physical pain my entire life and still can’t talk about it well. Your strength, resilience, clarity, and love are impressive, and a testament to the profound impression she left on you. You further prove a universally-tested hypothesis that, often, the funniest people have suffered the hardest.

    Thank you for sharing your mama with us. xxx+o
    Jess recently posted..High on Sunshine (Awards)My Profile

  11. julie nowell says:

    love. love it and love you girl.

  12. Cordelia says:

    This post is so beautiful and so moving. It’s reminded me that living in the moment with my girls is so important.

    Olga I think what you say is true for most people. That said, there are kids who are also forced to grow up and stop being children long before their parents pass. It shouldn’t be that way but it also happens.

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse of an incredible woman and mother.
    Cordelia recently posted..Linguistic Resolutions: I will not be my father & the art of acquiring spanish neologismsMy Profile

  13. Tiffany, I think your Mother would be amazed that she was able to install so much in her strong daughter. My girl is the age you were when your Mom left you. The thought of her having to go on without me wrenches my heart.
    I loved this post, and he photo made me stop and really see a person who didn’t get to see how her baby turned out.
    Magnolia Ripkin recently posted..Your Communication Style – A Guide for the ChallengedMy Profile

  14. akbwalsh says:

    HI Tiffany the last time I saw you you were 4.I’ve followed your story with much grief and joy.I send you love.I think about your mother most days. She sent me a picture one Christmas that hangs in my hall.Lving and learning and loving… That’s the name of the game.
    Anna Kay B. Walsh

  15. Mandy says:

    This is why I love you… You know who you are, and refuse to let life push you around… You push back with confidence, and use the trails to better yourself … Your Mama mothered you for your most formative years… And she did amazing clearly:). Your one awesome girl, mother, wife and friend!! xo

  16. Linda says:

    I was so deeply moved. I cried, I loved her for what she gave to you.

    I love you for you and what you give to others. Your the best!

  17. Liz Nandee says:

    Wow…you are such an inspiration…thanks for sharing

  18. David Ryan says:

    Your mum looked so gorgeous..
    David Ryan recently posted..The CalculatrMy Profile

  19. I really loved to read… Thanks for sharing….

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