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Remembering Mom

Monday, May 11, 2009

Posted originally on Second Helping Http://www.secondhelpingonline.com

"Especially on Mother’s Day, soak it all in. Realize what it is you want to fight for; be it your mother, your loved ones, your beliefs, and especially yourself.
And if in doing so, you realize you had given up on any of them, that’s okay. Really.
All you have to do is come back for a second helping."

A year since this was written in Second Helping’s first incarnation, those five sentences are the only thing more life-changing for me than my mother’s death two and a half years ago.

Last mother’s day, my then-editor encouraged me to write about my mother Jane’s death – her influence on how I covered food and dining, why and how I left my food writing job, and how my life fell apart in the aftermath got all mixed in. The rough-around-the-edges opus is archived on this site. You can read it here.

Red-eyed from tears and Fair Trade Organic in a cup-ridden booth of a North Carolina coffee shop, I didn’t realize writing those sentences would form the foundation of this Web site and begin an extraordinary adventure. In writing about how life fell apart when my mother died, it somehow knitted itself into something better.

And my beliefs haven’t been the same since. Be it a transformative body change, a death of a loved one, any status-quo shift … reflect on your life, stare it down and then dare yourself to not got lost in the transition. Succinctly – keep stepping back up to the plate, and standing for the constant expansion of life. Yours and especially everyone else’s.

That’s what I learned in my initial weight loss, gaining a chunk back after my mother’s death, and then losing it all again and leaving the messiness of post-mom North Carolina life behind. The real accomplishment of my weight loss wasn’t that I lost it the first time. It was when my life turned upside down I chose to get back up on my feet and recreate it from nothing. The 350-lb. Russ would have chosen differently, and that has nothing to do with what I weighed but rather what I believed about myself. The irony is, it took losing the weight for me to realize those beliefs for what they were.

I think everyone realizes weight loss itself doesn’t “fix” your life on some level. But I’m not sure people realize that it does offer you a clean plate, metaphorically speaking. Within weight loss is an implicit opportunity to make your life (not just your body) something beyond your wildest imagination. Something resplendent.

Doing that requires being unflinchingly honest with yourself when you ask yourself now what? I don’t think I’m unique in this – Mom taught me I’ll be asking myself now what? every day for the rest of my life. Those don’t stop being scary questions.

But in answering them, you can build the kind of life in which your weight loss – constantly showing off the fat pants – winds up being the least of your accomplishments. That’s what I strive for, and I hope it speaks to you too.

That constant will, determination and drive to fully realize your potential, stubbornly refusing to accept anything (like your weight) as “just the way things are,” is very much in keeping with the spirit of Mrs. Jane “Will, Determination and Drive” Lane. I encourage everyone to do as she would have and raise a glass of Chardonnay in her honor today. For all the scrappy fighters in your life – including yourself.

Yet the celebrating of her life still feels hollow. It doesn’t make me miss her any less.

But sometimes, the only thing left to do is forge ahead. That’s what Second Helping is all about.

So let's forge ahead together. I hope you enjoy what we’re building here on this Web site. We’re just getting warmed up.

Russ Lane
May 2009
French Quarter, New Orleans, La.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY2BEE 9/10/2011 5:12PM

    Im surprised you dont have more comments. Thank you for sharing this with us.Mothers are special people.Seems like yours definitley was (is).

Have'nt been back to N.O. since 2006. Time to come back!! emoticon

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WORDGRRL71 12/12/2009 1:27PM

    I sure miss my mom too. I had lost weight, then gained a good chunk of it back after she died. Celebrating her life it's now going on two years (she went in hospital day after T-day 2007 and died New Year's Eve, over a month later), it's gotten easier and less hollow. But we laugh more and more over her eccentricities. I stopped going out a while after she died, all the sudden i was stricken with a social anxiety disorder...every time I went out I'd start crying. So I stopped going out. Pretty soon I was forty pounds heavier, a shut in, and drinking a lot. It's taking a lot of work to get my life back on track and to, at the same time, address some of my demons and of those, my issues with my mother that were completely unresolved when she passed. I miss her and think of her every hour of every day, more than that. I am learning to let go of those regrets, I know she wouldn't want me to have them. She did always say her death should have been a celebration...Louisiana style (my mom was from LA too)...so after a couple of dirges and solemn hymn or too, I found some jazz to play at her service.

It's just a long road and nothing will ever bee the same, why should it. It is a life changing, life growing event to lose your mother and hopefully on the other end of pure heartbreak, you can be a better person for it. I'm lucky I have a daughter to reflect on and translate the experience into better mothering (which I don't always achieve!).

Thanks for sharing Russ...congrats on achieving your goals. Glad you are honoring your mum. I decided to go back into graduate school and get back into my true passion, dance, after my mom died. Kind of like you said, showing off your fat pants should be the least of your concerns. Yes, I want to be healthy and fit BUT I want a life that is full, full, full of all sorts of other wonderfulness.

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