I don’t quite know why I decided to write this post.
I feel like this is something that I’ve been holding in for quite some time, and it is literally seeping out of my pores, waiting to be told.
I feel like every single day I spend in my beautiful, new city, I can feel my mother with me. I literally hear her in the back of my head. I feel her giving me wisdom. I feel her nudging me to carry on and stand up for what I believe. I feel her telling me to chase my dreams and pursue my passion.
I am not a religious person, but I can’t lie… I feel my mother with me every day. The mind works in mysterious ways. Maybe the feelings I’m experiencing are just a coping mechanism of my brain; a way to put a proverbial band-aid on the idea that my mother is gone and never coming back. But truly… I can’t subscribe to that. Even growing up with a brother who is a scientist, I know there are some things that can’t be explained. I can feel myself being skeptical as I write these words, but since I’ve lived in New York, I have never felt happier, and I can’t shake the feeling that my mother has something to do with it.
I can’t believe it’s been over a year.
A year ago I was in a terrible place.
A year ago I didn’t have any clue how I would go on.
A year ago I questioned the meaning of my life and was seeking answers that I could not find.
A year ago I was surrounded by the most beautiful family members and friends, who gave me comfort without question. I slept in the bed of my best friend while she listened to me cry myself to sleep. I was a mess, and my friends and family were right there to pick me up.
A year ago I was left alone by a person who should have loved me more, who promised he would stick by me when things went bad. I was abandoned by a man who swore to stick by my side, who made me feel embarrassed to go through intense grief.
A year ago I raised over $11,000 dollars in the name of breast cancer research and walked 60 miles in honor of my mother. I walked in 107 degree heat with a friend who never judged me and who I miss terribly at the moment.
A year ago I began to cultivate the super-close relationship with my father that I could not live without.
A year ago I made the decision to devote my entire life to pursuing life and love, because without it, we are nothing. Life is not about fame. Life is not about money. Life is about sharing your life with people who make you a better person, who improve your character, and give love that is equal to what you give to them.
Today I stand strong.
I have overcome loss, grief, depression, helplessness, anxiety, struggle, betrayal, sadness, and ended up crawling my way back up to the surface.
I am the scrappy underdog that never gave up when things were bad.
I found love. Peace. Happiness.
Ro (my mom) was a woman of love.
Even though some (including myself) misjudged her as “crazy” sometimes, I realize now that she had a much clearer understanding of the world than I ever had.
My mother was kind to everyone. She didn’t care about your social status, your race, your beliefs… she was the kindest person I’ve ever known. I remember how she let me finish my tryouts for UC cheerleading before telling me her cancer was back… because she said I was “her cheerleader” and she wanted me to do my best. When I didn’t make the squad, she was proud all the same and told me that I was always number one to her. I remember her driving down to Cincinnati to help me get through finals week because I was stressed out. I remember her flying to Boston to see my first ever gig downtown where I played for 15 people. I remember my mom sending my countless cards while in college just because she loved me. I remember my mother being kind to everyone she met, from the grocery store to the homeless man on the street. I remember my mother taking care of my grandmother and grandfather, even though she was sick herself.
I remember her hugging me at my grandmother’s funeral and telling me how much it meant that I sang my grandma to sleep one last time.
Ro fought fiercely for the ones she loved. She was the Queen and the final word. I can remember being bullied so harshly in middle school and having my mother fight for me like only a true mother bear could. I remember her stroking my hair and letting me cry myself to sleep when my first love broke my heart. I remember her marching into my high school when one of my teachers called me a bitch because I had laryngitis and took a sip of water during computers class. I remember her telling me growing up that I never needed to wear makeup, shave my legs or wear a bra if I didn’t want to; it was all about how I felt about myself. I remember my mother storming into the doctor’s office when a member of the staff had broken HIPPA laws against my mother and I, and fighting for justice.
But sometimes I feel as though I will forget.
It is tough feeling as though the ones you love most can just slip thought your fingers. My mother was in my life for 23 years, but will these memories fade with time? Will I always remember how she used to laugh? Will I always recall the silly way she would talk to cute babies and adorable animals? Will I forget how sometimes she would try to yell at my brother and I and end up saying “GR-Shannon!?!?” (a mix of Griff and Shannon)
The other day I gave my breakfast to a man on the train.
Why is this significant? Because this is something Ro would have done. She would not have simply passed him by or ignored him. She would have given this man what she had. In my case it was a banana and a granola bar. I had woken up late and grabbed breakfast on the go. When this man plead for his family and his health I looked at him and knew he was hungry, that he needed help. I wanted to make his day better. I wanted to change a life.
I wanted to be like Ro.
I always want to be like my mother.
As long as blood is running though my veins, so is my mother. She reminds me to be kind. She reminds me to love. She reminds me to be patient, even when I don’t want to be. She reminds me to be fierce when standing up for what I believe in. She reminds me to never give up.
I am my mother. I am Rosemary (Falasco) Allen.
I am Shannon Rose Allen
“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make” -The Beatles