2017 has been a crazy year. I didn’t even take the time to write anything in my blog. But tonight, Life is giving me an opportunity to calm down for a minute while the world is celebrating and partying for the New Year.

This has been a different taste. For the last two years. And I have been dreading this time. When my Mom was born in Heaven. She left on January 1st, 2016. I will always remember the phone call from my step dad. She had relapsed from breast cancer earlier during the year, and in November, her health took a turn. I flew on a very short notice back to France, and with my brother, sister and step dad, we gathered around her for one week, knowing she didn’t have much left.

She was an incredible woman. The first word that comes to my mind when I think of her is Strong. She was strong. She was very strong. And she worked hard to pass this along to her children. As her first born, she was always very tough with me. There was very little room for being soft. She taught us to always face our fears, no matter what, and to only count on ourself. When I asked her advice about how to lead my life and which choices to make, she always helped me to lean towards what scared me the most. My whole life has been led by this principle. When others choose comfort and settle for the least path of resistance, I go for chasing my dreams and jump this big leap into the unknown. She gave us this amazing gift of believing that everything is possible. So many times I thought she was crazy and had no idea of the consequences of what she was preaching, but when I look at my life right now, I clearly understand that she was right, all along.

She was very strong and very stubborn too. When the doctor told her that after seven years in remission the cancer came back, she decided that she would not go for the normal treatment, and instead chose to follow her own alternative options. In other words, she refused to get chemo and decided to heal through natural solutions. For having relapsed myself, this made me come out of myself. I can’t recall how many times we argued about her choice and how much I tried to change her mind. But she never flinched.

Although my Mom was born and raised Catholic, I always thought she inherited traits from the Jewish mothers, as she was born in North Africa and was the descent of a “Pied Noir” family (black foot in English). And one of these traits, in my opinion, is stubbornness. But taking time to reflect on this now, I realize that it was more than stubbornness. She stood up for what she believed in, regardless of the possibility of a tragic outcome. Truly, who, in our modern world in 2018, can claim that they would stand up the way she did, and live by these principles until the end? Very few of us I think…

Between the time she was diagnosed with relapse and the time her health became critical, she was able to enjoy Life to the fullest, and experience and experiment the natural treatments she deeply believed in. Ultimately, she led the final months of her life exactly the way she wanted to. So no, it is not really stubbornness, it is Greatness. In the end, I am very proud of her that she chose her own path, despite our disagreements.

A few months ago, as I was starting a new job that is taking me away from home during the week, we came up with a catch phrase that defines us as a family and would help us go through this new life adjustment, especially for our little ones: “We are Strong, we are Bold, and we are Brave!”. That sums up it all. And my Mom, watching over us, might be proud to see her grandchildren carrying her legacy, and screaming this phrase on the top of their lungs.

Today, as 2017 is coming to an end and we enter the New Year, I want my Mom to look as us, and be proud of us for staying strong, despite and regardless of the hardships. As the anniversary of her passing is now hours away,  I want the world to know how strong and great she was, and how the world could find inspiration in her life.

Happy New Year my friends.

Happy New Year in Heaven Maman.

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