“When I met Carrie and thought about doing this project, I wasn’t sure what source of strength to focus on. I can certainly say that the strongest I ever felt was giving birth to my daughter four years ago. But if I had to talk about a longstanding source of strength for me, I would want to talk about my mother. I lost her to cancer when I was 22. That kind of loss shapes your whole life. There are so many things I don’t know because I was too young to even know to ask. Women carry a family’s memory with them, especially mothers. Things get lost when they pass.
Today, though, I live knowing that my mother would be so proud of my accomplishments and I try to build on the love she provided. I don’t think I even understood a single ounce of what she must have felt for me until having my own daughter. Loving a child is transformative. It’s everything. It shapes your whole existence and puts everything into perspective. And now that I get that love in a personal way, I feel closer to my mom. I think of her when making decisions about my future. I know that I must follow what makes me happy, what gives me joy–for me, for my daughter, and to honor my mother.
Today, I own my own company. I have a doctorate, am bilingual, and have traveled the world. I have also begun working as a photographer, a passion that I love. And I have a dear family in the city of Philadelphia, a place that I love.
One of the last things my mother ever said to me was, “I don’t regret anything.” At 22, it was incomprehensible for me to hear that. She died young, at 56, and I felt like so much was still left undone. But those words were a gift. I find strength in them. They live in my memory. And I hope that one day, when the time comes, I can say the same—that I did the best with the time I had. That is my source of strength.”
You can follow Lesley at @phillyblooms and find out more about her company at http://sagelycreative.com.