six years ago tomorrow my mother passed away from glioblastoma, also known as a miserable fucking brain tumor. she was an amazing person, but more than that she was MY mom and i think this year I'm going to honor her by sharing a bit about who she was, what she taught me, and why I love her so damn much. thanks for making this a safe space.
  1. her sense of humor
    my mom loved to laugh and was a total kid at heart. and she loved to prank. in high school she and my friends would conference call the teachers with other parents at the school and then go silent and wait for confusion to ensue. she wanted our house to be real and messy and full of laughter and she managed to be a good authoritative figure and shoulder to cry on and and also a fun person to be around. one thing that stood out to me when she died is what an impact her spirit had on MY friends.
  2. her encouragement of therapy and self-knowledge
    my mom was raised in what you would call an "eccentric" family in Hollywood during the 60s and 70s. her father was a filmmaker who made movies based exaggerated versions his life and her mother was a socialist hippie from Kentucky who didn't know how to drive or cook but liked pot. So...she had some issues. when I was growing up she told me that if she could give me any advice it would be to never stop learning about who I am. That it would make me a better partner, friend and mother. amen.
  3. her catch phrases
    "well, life is in session", "let it go," "make peace," "shit man!" "slow down Carly, you're so hyper!" "you can't change anyone," "lighten up!"
  4. she was completely unmaterialistic
    my mom was wise to the fact that money can't buy happiness. she had it her whole life and was fucked up. she wasn't the mom to deny me something I wanted but she also didn't put a premium on going shopping at the most expensive stores. it didn't change the fact that I like luxury things (thanks dad!) but I tend to be thoughtful about spending and appreciate that she saw a way to live a full life that wasn't dictated by Things.
  5. but she loved skin care and face products
    I'll never forget being in sixth grade when she said it was time for a "regimen." her eyes lit up. she loved anything that made her feel beautiful and she wanted me to feel that way too. and when I went through some rough body image stuff later in life she was my champion, sending me to crazy holistic health centers before they were hip because she saw the value in having confidence and loving yourself.
  6. she was good at seeing the big picture
    I'm the kind of person who puts too much pressure on myself and always so appreciated her calming reminders. "Relax Carly. A grade doesn't reflect your character. what do you think matters in the real world?" I channel her ALL the time when I'm stressing.
  7. she was devoted to service
    my mom wasn't a martyr. but she was a really good person. she quit entertainment to work with victims of domestic violence and when I was growing up was constantly helping women escape from dangerous situations. she ran the abuse prevention program at a counseling center & came face to face with a lot of abusers and wanted to help them too. she always knew that if she was having a bad day, helping someone in a small way would make her feel better. I try my best to be more like her in this way.
  8. she was thoughtful
    care packages at college, magazines and an envelope with cash on my bed when I came home to visit, Starbucks cards to my office in NYC ...she was always thinking about me. now that I'm a parent I totally get it, but it still makes me smile to think about how the happiest she ever was was doing something kind for me or my sister that would make us feel good. I realize now that she infused my life with kindness & magic that is woven into my fabric and will always make me feel loved and not alone.
  9. she had a spiritual core
    as I've gotten older I've come to really appreciate this. my mom was raised in chaos and searching for order. she didn't have religious beliefs and was searching her whole life for something to ground her. I don't know if she ever reached a place where she felt she was secure in her faith in something greater, but she instilled it in me in such a deep way especially after she died that I feel it lives on and continues to evolve.
  10. she gave me a beautiful life.
    forget the past. my mom also gave me my future. I know it was no accident that I was able to start a business basically out of thin air inspired by her death. and then found my love and unexpectedly got pregnant soon after she died. I went into labor two years to the day that she died, bringing my beautiful son into the world as the sun rose on a new day. thank you, mom.
  11. she didn't want to leave.
    people love to talk about leaving the world with grace and acceptance. My mom was neither. she was pissed off and did not want to miss out on a thing. it's just who she was. all her "surrender" mantras went out the window and she was fighting every minute of every day. one of the last emails I have from her before she got sick said "I feel so blessed and grateful to be alive." for all the flaws she knew were out there, she saw a beautiful world and wasn't ready to let go. I wasn't either.