I am a daughter of women. And in my little world, it was my grandmothers and my great-aunts, along with my mom, who shaped my early years with their unconditional love, kindness and most of all their joy. They were a consistent presence in my young life when nothing else was. As I grew up, and especially when I found myself in the cervical cancer world, their words became the armor I wore to take on whatever the world tossed my way.
This Mother’s Day, we want to celebrate how we have been transformed by the women in our lives. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunties — these are women who made a lasting impact on who we have become. Our community members reflected on what their family matriarchs bestowed upon them and how that guides you today. You shared your heartfelt memories and they really spoke to how diverse the celebration of Mother’s Day can be.
“My dear mother passed away in August 2020, just five months after her 100th birthday. Her spirit has kept me going throughout the cancer journey. I can imagine if she were here, watching me through this past year, she would encourage me with expressions of faith and determination. As she frequently pointed out when I was growing up, ‘You are a child of God and, if He marks the fall of even one sparrow, how could He not keep up with you?’ She modeled how to thrive through troubles, with head unbowed, hear unbroken and soul unbothered. I am made better for it.”
“At the end of my grandma’s life, she was suffering from macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. We knew she was about to pass so I went to visit her to say goodbye. When I walked in and held her hand, she said, ‘Annie’. She hadn’t spoken in weeks! I told her how much I loved her, how much I knew she loved me and that she had always been my champion. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately. I’m trying to raise my girls to be strong, kind, intelligent women. May we all have strong women in our lives, championing and cheering us on.”
“After my father passed away when I was 11, I was left with frustration and also confused. I was a ‘Daddy’s girl’ and I was hurt. My mother stepped in and nurtured the pain that I carried and allowed me to become a strong, resilient fighter. When I became a mom, I wanted to share those same strengths with my children. And my children have taught me to hope, dream and love. They have taught me more than I believe I’ve taught them at times. Their blind faith reminds me that I can love even when I’m hurt, mistakes do not have to be your defining moments, and your next levels are created by your desire to see your end result.”
My best piece of advice from my mother reflects my own parenting style: “Happy, Healthy, Alive”. My mother often commented how happy I was, and shared that she prayed that I would always be so happy in life. I want Chayton, our Cervivor Baby, to know that he is loved. I grew up in a huge family, but also had a lot of close family friends that were a part of my village, and I love that my son has that too. There is so much pressure in life to cross all of the “successful” things off a list. But we often forget the pure joy of living a well-lived life.
Let’s take a moment to remember and thank our loved ones for bestowing unwavering love, guidance and wisdom upon us. We treasure our memories of these women who gave us grace and strength. Perhaps we are missing our special person today but we can keep them in our hearts forever, and carry their light within us as we move through life. We also have the compassion and kindness of this resilient Cervivor community that we can turn to when we need to be uplifted.