Ten More Seconds
9 years ago today my mom Joanna passed away at the age of 52 from an overdose after battling depression and addictions for most of her life. I was born in 1975 and although she was only 20, she'd already been through enough life challenges to seriously wound her.
That year would be devastating beyond belief as my Grandpa Jack and uncles John and Michael passed away, all from unrelated incidents. I was too young to understand the emotional trauma inflicted on my family at the time but as I aged, I developed an acute sense of how deeply that loss affected her.
Despite struggling with addiction, my mom always did her best to shelter me from pain and shower me with love. She was a strong, beautiful and thoughtful person who would lend her heart and soul to anyone who needed it and I benefited greatly from her gifts of empathy and compassion.
Filled with regret, I often imagine a life where things had gone differently however, her story is a powerful lesson in the fragility we share as human beings.
I decided to share this with you for a number of reasons, the most important one is to help spread the understanding that not everyone gets a chance to choose their path in life. Contrary to what the "strong, high and mighty" would have you believe, life is wildly unpredictable and seldom rewards fairly.
Whether it's emotional distress, mental illness, chronic pain or addictions, many of us are struggling with illnesses and afflictions that can't be seen.
As a society, we're often quick to judge and blame others for their shortcomings without understanding the full story. Empathy and compassion are the tools that help us reach a better level of understanding with each other, in my moms honor I will strive to spread that message.