Over the course of our lives, we all collect a long list of mentors and teachers that see something in us — that push us to become better people. For me, though, the biggest positive influence on my life wasn’t any professor or coach — it was my mom.
My mother was an incredible person. The prime example of generosity and caring, she truly affected each and every person who had the pleasure of getting to know her. Her influence on me is difficult to put into words, and I’m certain that I have her to thank for everything I’ve accomplished over the years. Growing up, our family didn’t have a lot. My mom raised my younger brother and me by herself, working three jobs at all times to put food on the table. Primarily a caretaker and nurse’s assistant, she was always taking on extra work so she could provide us with the opportunities she thought we deserved.
Looking back, I’m moved by the enormity of the sacrifices she made. But that was just how she did things — always putting everyone else’s needs before her own. Even late in life, as the cancer began to spread, she didn’t want anybody worrying about her or going out of their way to take care of her. But of course all of us did, attempting to repay even a tiny fraction of the inestimable gifts she’d given us during her life.
When I was growing up, my mom constantly stressed the importance of school. “The key to having a better life than this,” she’d say, “is education.” She took great pains to ensure I had adequate time to do my homework, even going so far as to scratch chores off my list to give me
more time. She knew that education would be paramount in me building my own path, and with two degrees and a doctorate under my belt, I can say with confidence that she was right.
Not only that, but she imparted a love for human connection in me that, in many ways, directly resulted in me becoming an audiologist. That may sound strange, but think of it this way:
Hearing impairment restricts the quality of communication we have between us and our loved ones. It’s always been my goal to restore those connections in my patients, allowing them to fully enjoy those relationships that, really, make life worth living.
Those who guide us in the course of our lives move us so greatly — often without us even realizing the influence of their actions. I certainly can’t imagine where I’d be without my mom inspiring and motivating me throughout my life. She was a hilarious, amazing woman, who made me feel like I could do anything. She never doubted me for an instant. Since her passing last year, I have striven to continue her legacy of genuine compassion and generosity. As I write this, I’m overcome with gratitude for everything she did for us. I miss her, each and every day.
All my best,