Strength. It’s such a simple word that means so much. Being strong is something we are all capable of but often times, we don’t even realize how strong we are until we have to be. My mother was the strongest person I have ever known and she instilled much of that within me. I’ll be honest though, there have been days within the past two years that have tested my strength, tested my soul, and tested my willpower to remain positive. The biggest test culminated with my mother passing away at the end of October 2015.
People keep telling me how strong I am. They tell me they don’t know how I keep moving forward. They tell me they see my strength and they wish they could be as strong as I am. I’ll be honest, some days I really don’t feel strong at all. Some days I feel lost and alone, wishing only for a phone call or cuddle from my Mom. I’m an only child raised by a single mother, so I don’t have another parent or sibling to depend on during this trying time. I do have some family and some great friends who have been there for me but at the end of the day, nothing will ever compare to my mother’s love.
And so it is her love that gives me the strength I need on my hardest days. I have never known a deeper love than my mother’s and I know I never will. I know she faced many struggles, trials, and tribulations throughout her life but she never wavered in her love for me. She never let her struggles affect her positive outlook and she most certainly never let any bad days affect our bond. At the end of even the worst days or any arguments we ever had we still made sure to say “I love you” before we went to sleep. Our love for each other was always evident. We were best friends, we were confidantes, I am her and she is me. My Mom taught me that being strong means being able to say you’re sorry and being able to admit when you make a mistake. I was lucky to have such a smart woman influence my life so much and I owe her every ounce of strength I’ve used to make it to this point in my life.
When my husband woke up one morning in 2014, packed his bags and left me only three months after I picked up my life and moved across the country for his job opportunity, I was devastated. I was 28 years old and thought my marriage was solid. I had no clue what I had done wrong, I had no clue what to do next, I had no clue how to pick up the pieces and move on. I didn’t feel strong enough to get through it but my Mom reminded me I was. She reminded me to put one foot in front of the other, lift my head high, and keep moving forward. She told me I would get through it, that even though we don’t know why life throws us curveballs, it is those exact tests that make us stronger, better people. Through her help, I found my independence and found myself. I even got really good at driving 15 foot U-Haul’s because sometimes when you have to move, you figure out a way to do it, no matter what.
I can’t even count the amount of times I called my Mom, bawling my eyes out crying to her “It’s just not fair, why me?” She would tell me life isn’t fair, nothing’s fair for anyone but to focus on the good things in life that we do have. She is the one who shaped the positive attitude I so proudly carry with me where ever I go and I know now, that only a strong person could find the good in even the most horrible situations. And that is what I’m known for doing. Amongst my friends and family, I am known for seeing the good in situations and in people alike. I find the positives in almost any situation thrown my way and only now do I realize that it takes strength to do that.
These days, I continue to wonder why life is so unfair and without my mother around to give me the advice I always needed, I must now rely on her voice in my mind to get through the hard days. I hear her often and I’m beginning to realize that I carry so much of her in my heart. So much so, that she doesn’t even seem truly gone. She was the real definition of strength and compassion, of love and positivity. She proved that no matter how strong you think you are or aren’t, that the amount of love you carry with you is what will get you through this life, every step of the way.
Thank you, Mom, for leading by example and teaching me that strength is love. I l will love you forever and always. xo Alice Ferguson was a pillar of the Cornwall community and a founding member of Women’s Entrepreneur. She worked in the male dominated industry of International Freight Forwarding before starting her own businesses: Alishan Transportation and Nahsila Freight Services. She was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Team Cornwall, and The Rotary Club. She ran for city council in 2000 and was a corporate sponsor of many Kinsmen sports teams throughout the years.
Shannon Ferguson is a writer who recently returned to her roots in Cornwall. With degrees in Communications, Psychology, and Broadcast Journalism, Shannon created her successful blog, The Love Hawk, and is a contributing writer for many websites including The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. View her blog at www.thelovehawk.com, like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @TheLoveHawk and be sure to listen to her online radio show “The Love Hawk” every Tuesday at 6pm at www.dunet.ca