On the evening of February 4, World Cancer Day, my mother passed away. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy and two stem cell transplants, Mom was cancer free. And yet, she died.
Her death followed a six-month yo-yo between crisis and small improvements in health. After her battle with cancer, her body was weak enough that the smallest illnesses became life-threatening. Her lungs consistently took the brunt of these battles. In the end, her lungs failed her.
As my father, brother, and I pour through old photo albums, it becomes easier to remember the woman my mom was before her downward spiral. Mom was compassionate woman who overcame great challenges in her life to find confidence, happiness, optimism, and adventure.
She loved New York City. Mom took this snapshot of lower Manhattan at the beginning of a Bermuda cruise with her future sister-in-law.
She loved that I lived in New York City. Every visit became an adventure, from our playful day at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx...
... to our splurge on Wicked Tickets...
...to wandering aimlessly through the changing neighborhoods of Manhattan.
She loved music. In 2009, at the age of 54, she attended a music festival by herself just to see Crosby, Stills and Nash. Somehow, feisty as ever, she managed to get right up to the stage.
She loved that my brother played music. Every single one of his performances was an adventure.
Most precious of all, she found adventure in small moments. She could take joy in stillness. She built a strong and loving foundation of family and taught her children to explore the world with curiosity and confidence. Each of my own adventures is a sprout of the seed she planted.