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My Mother’s Death Taught Me To Be Selfless

My Mother’s Death Taught Me To Be Selfless

Last weekend, I was sitting in the car with a friend and she said, ‘You know, Necole, you are so selfless. This whole weekend should have been about you, but you went over and beyond to make sure that it was about your friends and the people around you. Do you know how much more you will be blessed’.

And I thanked her but told her that it wasn’t always like that for me. I do admit, I spent a huge part of my life being very selfish. I didn’t know any better. I was an only child. I didn’t learn to look out for other people or take other people’s feelings in to consideration while growing up.

Just recently, while reading the Alchemist, it made me remember my past life, before I started challenging my fear. I lived a very mundane life with a set routine. I would go to work 9-5, get off work, go to school, party with my friends every Friday and Saturday, rest on Sunday and get up on Monday and do it all over again. I was living a simple life, and as part of my daily routine, I would call my mother every day during lunch break to catch her up on what was going on in my life. In all honesty, I spent at least half of the time on the phone with my mom, complaining about things like school, my job and plenty of senseless things that mattered to me at the time but looking back, should have been the least of my concerns. But nevertheless, it was all a part of my routine and it made me feel better.

One day, before my lunch break, I was sitting at my desk and I received a text from a friend. It read, ‘I am so sorry to hear about your mom. They announced in Church last Sunday that she only had two weeks to live’. My heart dropped and I was very confused. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years beforehand and from my knowledge she had went through the required treatment and she was doing well. I then started thinking about how I had called her every single day, but not once had she mentioned this, and even worse, not once had I thought to ask her, ‘How are you feeling’.

When my lunch break came around, I went to the conference room and I called my mother like I normally do. I talked to her as I normally would have but after about ten minutes, I blatantly asked, ‘Mom, are you going to die’? The phone was silent and I know deep down, she didn’t answer me because she was crying and she didn’t want to tell me. My aunt told me later on that my mother didn’t want me to worry about her. She didn’t want me to leave school or leave my job. My heart was broken because in that moment, I realized that I was so wrapped up in my world and everything that I thought was going wrong, that I never once stopped to think about someone else. Not even my own mom.

I left work that day and drove two hours to my hometown where she lived. She later showed me the powder blue casket that she had picked out and the tombstone. She planned her funeral. [Just the thought of having to plan my own funeral put a lot of things in perspective.]

 Five days later, I held her hand while she took her last breath.

I stood over her bed watching her with tears in my eyes, knowing there is nothing I could do as she continued to gasp for air. The visual still haunts me.

It is my biggest heart break I will ever experience in life.

For years, I held this guilt within me because of the time I wasted on things that did not matter. Those moments that could have been spent with my mom. It took a long time for me to get over that and as a result I became very distant and detached from people.

Meanwhile, after the funeral, I returned to work but my routine was shaken up. I could no longer go to the conference room on my lunch break and place that call. Even today, when something monumental in my life happens, I want to pick up the phone and call her.  I want to share the news and say, ‘This time, ‘I’m not complaining mom. I didn’t like my life so I changed my life. I took risks. I faced my fear. I became a better person. And I didn’t fail. I succeeded’.

I want to say all of those things. But I can’t.

I am a true believer that there is a lesson in everything. My mother’s death still weighs heavy on my heart and still today I am working hard to not make the moment about me all of the time. I learned that it’s never too late to change. If you don’t like your life, change your life. Unfortunately, I had to lose someone very important in my life to realize, ‘what am I complaining all of the time for???!’ And I started taking the necessary steps to build the life I wanted. I eventually quit my job, I moved to another city and I was inconvenienced for at least four years, wondering where my next meal or paycheck was going to come, but I kept at it because I had faith that my breakthrough was near.

The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is that the unsuccessful normally gives up just before their breakthrough is about to happen.

I also learned a valuable lesson about death. Live every day to the fullest, as if it were your last.

One day, it will be.

Our time here is only temporary and as soon as we accept that we are only here for a limited time, is when we will truly live our lives the way it should be.

Originally posted on My Tumblr

Written in 2014. Reposted in 2017

80 Comments
  • 23 Oct ’12

    This is so sad, but what a beautiful message.

    • 4thewire
      28 May ’14

      Whoa Necole you completely bring back too many memories. I trust you find a way to heal and cope I’M TRYING as well.

  • Brandi
    Reply
    23 Oct ’12

    I made it through the fourth paragraph before calling my mom. Turns out it was a moment she needed to hear from someone who loved her. She fights for health and I can’t imagine the toll it takes on a person who does so. Today she smiled. Thank you, truly, Necole for sharing.

  • Josh
    Reply
    24 Oct ’12

    Necole, I want to thank you so much for posting to this. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes because this touched my heart so much. You have no idea how much you inspire people with every little piece of your story that you share. I am so proud of what you have accomplished and I am rooting for you.

    • Blairk
      15 Jul ’15

      You so inspring love love love !!!!!!!!!

  • Mun
    Reply
    24 Oct ’12

    Necole, thank you for this.
    Like Brandi, I only made it halfway through your article before I quickly picked up the phone to call my parents. I do the whole ‘I’m busy’ thing that I have missed out on a lot. This was a much needed wake up call.
    Thanks again : )

  • Nia
    Reply
    24 Oct ’12

    Necole, I am soooo happy that I have stumbled upon your personal blog. This story really touches me b/c my mother was diagnosed with cancer while I was a freshman in college and it was one of the toughest times of my life. 4 major surgeries and a slew of health issues later she is still with us but that time really opened my eyes. I talked to my mother everyday but it meant sooo much more after almost losing her.
    The support and love I received during that time really made me a better person. 5 years later, I’ve graduated and started following my career dreams and after reading your story I’ve realized that I have backtracked into that selfish space where I talk about MY job, and MY apartment and MY friends all day.

    Long story not so long… Thanks for getting me back on track!!

  • Brandi
    Reply
    24 Oct ’12

    Yes! Here I was thinking you’re simply a celebrity blogger! I had no idea! Your candor and transparency is a beautiful surprise! Many many well wishes to you!

  • 4 Dec ’12

    I really think I needed to read this, in this moment, in this place. Especially when you say: “This time, ‘I’m not complaining mom. I didn’t like my life so I changed my life. I took risks. I faced my fear. I became a better person. And I didn’t fail. I succeeded’. I want to say all of those things. But I can’t.”

    That really made me stop and think about the conversations I have with my mom. Not only that, it made me think about what I’m doing to change my life. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Loretta
    Reply
    1 Jul ’13

    Necole, thanks for sharing, you touched my soul by writing this piece.
    I still have both parents but I don’t talk to them as much as I should
    I got laid off and I’ve shut people out because I’m sad, but you’ve just shown me how selfish I’ve been…praying for you, may you continue to be blessed.

  • Nakia
    Reply
    3 Jul ’13

    That was beautiful. Your mom was a very nice person and I could not imagine not being able to call my mom. She raised a strong independent woman and I know she’s proud of the person you have become. I love to read your posts they are so inspiring. K<3

  • 3 Jul ’13

    I don’t know what made me clic on your link today but it was really a wake up call to me. I have so many things in my life to be thankful for but it seems like its never enough. I call my mom all the time also, sometimes just to complain about things that are going on in my life. But sometimes I really should stop and ask her how are you doing. If nothing else, this letter enlightened me on that.
    As far as being selfish, I have some learning to do in that area. Its not as easy as A,B,C to get over that. I have a hard time when things don’t go my way and thats another thing that i’m working on.

    So many things I could share but overall I know that I have a lot of work to do on myself and I really thank you for opening up and sharing these precious moments of your life. Its inspiring to know that even I can change and overcome these obstacles that I’m faced with in life. Sometimes a person has to step out on faith and it seems like everything falls apart when you are trying your best but you just have to keep pushing on. Like you said, thats the difference between being successful and unsuccessful. If it was easy everybody would be at the top. But thats not the case.
    So on that note – thank you again for sharing and please post more messages like this because I really needed to hear this today. And i’m going to go back and read it again so that it can sink in.
    Thanks Necole. 🙂

  • 4 Jul ’13

    Hello. I met you at #BWBNYC … This was beautiful and very touching. It is an understatement to say that life changes when you lose someone so close to you. I lost my mother less than two years ago and really miss talking to her. It would be great to share what is going on with me (she always knew this day would come), but more to dig into her life. In every way her life is my life and it is very important to hear those stories because the number of questions you have later…there are no answers.

    God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Wow. Thanks for opening up like that. You are amazing and Your mom would be proud.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Thanks for sharing. It’s in our darkest times that our bloom begins to form.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Thank you for sharing this very personal revelation. It’s during our darkest time that our bloom begins to form!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Loved this! My father passed away a few years ago and this is definitely what I’ve been going through, great read!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    I’m so glad u shared this my mom recently died from cancer also and it’s been really hard but reading ur story I know I can get through this.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Your blog moved me to tears. I too am an only child & it took me loosing my mom to become selfless. It was all about me before she passed. I am more giving now but Ive learned the hard way how to give without being used. I miss talking to mama on my lunch breaks. Reading your article was like reading a page from my own personal experience. I know your mom is proud of the women that you are!

    • 15 Mar ’14

      My mom died 8 years ago… and i went from selfless to selfish… she and me werent bffs because i wasnt a clone like she was. I had to teach myself how do me. She was tryna teach me how to be like her and it never worked and my dad wanted sons so i never fit in…

    • Arianna
      9 Mar ’16

      I also am i an only child that lost her mother.This moved me to tears.Your mom is watching over you and I’m sure she proud.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    I truly commend you miss Necole. This is a type of blog I follow. I was once so sucked into reading the newest scandals of celeb lives, wasting life’s precious time. Then to read such deep, relatable content written straight from the heart, is more admirable. As difficult it is for one to publicly post their personal and private thoughts, it can truly be helpful to those going through it, or have before. Thank you

  • 15 Mar ’14

    My mother passed away almost six months ago I had to change myself in order to change my life. Her death taught me to be more serious about life and live life to the fullest. Thank you necole for sharing this.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Thank you so much for this Necole…I personally cant relate to this story but its always so refreshing and encouraging when u share these intimate details allowing ur readers to see that under all the glitz and glamour u r just like us 🙂

  • Sarai
    Reply
    15 Mar ’14

    I’ve read this before but reading this again made me cry, this was an rude awakening, I talk to my parents whenever I can but I need to do better. Also, I need to stop complaining about things that I can CHANGE. No ONE is forcing me to work at my current job that I HATE, I can follow MY dreams and LIVE the life I envisioned for MYSELF.. NO ONE is standing in that roadblock but me,myself, & I.
    I also hate that you had to lose your mother in order to figure this out, but by you going through that you help others realize things before it’s too late. Thank you so much Necole, I wonder at times do you really realize how much of an blessing you are to others?? LOL..
    I have dreams of being on your site(s) one day for my music career, I will not give up..Reading your stories really help me through, whenever I’m having a bad day I read your blog posts that really stand out to me and help me through things. Sorry for all the yapping but I just had to get this out.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    This is so true. Thank you Sheji Rivers

  • Giddy1
    Reply
    15 Mar ’14

    Bitter sweet, story! I remember a great deal of it, and even though you can’t call to tell her everything, I’m certain she is watching over you proudly. She is a driving force in your life, and in a lot of ways, you take after her. Because you made, she did too

  • 15 Mar ’14

    ur such an inspiration and your very much appreciated Necole!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Very touching! So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing. Time is so precious.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Mentally bookmarked TO READ when I leave work…

  • 15 Mar ’14

    My mom passed in 06. Thank you for this Necole. ♥

  • Sun
    Reply
    15 Mar ’14

    Necole you’re truly an inspiration,this literally made me revaluate my life.

    Thank You

  • 15 Mar ’14

    This is why I love Necole Bitchie!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Lovely to read x

  • 15 Mar ’14

    My mom passed away in 03. Still feels like it was yesterday. Thanks Necole.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Death can change a person. At least you learned

  • 15 Mar ’14

    I really needed to read this. Its going on 7 months since my mom passed as you know Necole. Getting out of depression and continuing ro live life to the fullest is very hard but this story def will help me get back there as i continue adjusting to this new normal way of life without her. Thank you

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Wow, I see you wrote this in 2012. But I received confirmation in 2014. To God be the glory.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Wow Necole how courageous you are to share your very personal story about your mom with us. It makes us all realize that our parents are not going to be here forever. Enjoy the now.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    What an amazing person you are to share this. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I am so grateful for your growth and maturity even during something so tragic. May she rest in peace I know she is very proud of you.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    This sounds exactly so much like me and how I lost my mom. Deep. Thanks for sharing

  • 15 Mar ’14

    I can totally relate to this…Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been almost 3 years and I miss her everyday.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    I can totally relate to this…Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been almost 3 years and I miss her everyday.

  • 15 Mar ’14

    This is truly a testimony! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! God bless!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    This is truly a testimony! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! God bless!

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Loved your honesty necole

  • 15 Mar ’14

    Necole thank you for posting this. I have a similar story but with my grandme fact.. she was diagnosed with cancer but kept that she was dying to herself. Later on I found out that she was telling my parents and uncles not to tell me because she didnt want to break my heart. I have acquired patience and I know try to live life like she did by being selfless and calm. All of the times I wasted complaining about school and my parents to her I should have been talking to her about her life and if she was doing well. I know she wouldnt want me to be sad so I continue to smile. I hope you know youve helped me alot

  • 16 Mar ’14

    Beautiful…..

  • 16 Mar ’14

    Thank you for sharing,

  • Adnan
    Reply
    16 Mar ’14

    God bless you and your mother Necole! She’s proud of you and this was a beautiful post.

  • 16 Mar ’14

    Thank you for opening up. Great message today

  • 16 Mar ’14

    Wow thank u Nicole this has been an eye opener for me

  • Monique
    Reply
    16 Mar ’14

    Wow… this article caught my attention due to the title. I have been, and continue to go through almost a mirror image of this experience. I would love to reach out to Necole for support. Give and receive some advice, share each other’s story, lift each other up, and most certainly learn from each other. I had to submit my email to put up this post. I would love to hear from you Necole. Please reach out to me if you can. Thank you for sharing your story, and God bless.

  • 16 Mar ’14

    This was so poignant and right on time!! I will be passing this on to friends.

  • Mila
    Reply
    17 Mar ’14

    Thank you for this post. Truly touched my heart. I’m going through some things with my mom right now.. I guess I needed to read this to realize that somethings don’t matter. I should be grateful for the time I have with her, while I have her.

  • Cynthia
    Reply
    18 Mar ’14

    I just lost my Mom last week to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She was 56. And it’s been tough… But being able to go to many of her appointments with her and always being by her side proving my love to her kind of puts me at peace with everything. Have you ever thought of doing something in the near future for breast cancer awareness? I know your mother is also very proud of the women you’ve become!

  • Johnny C
    Reply
    19 Mar ’14

    I guess our parents are teaching us about life until the very end.
    My heart goes out to you.

  • K
    Reply
    27 Mar ’14

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have tears in my eyes from reading this because I too talked to my mom everyday and not once did she tell me she was sick. Her passing was a complete shock to me and I live with the pain and guilt everyday. Your story has really helped me!

  • t. walker
    Reply
    22 May ’14

    Thank you for sharing. My mom died in 2003…you miss them forever.

  • Chelsea
    Reply
    28 May ’14

    I love reading your posts Necole. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I contemplate regularly if blogging should be something that I pursue. Not only as a way to share my stories but serve as self-therapy for me as well. You truly inspire and motivate me. Love always, xoxo!

  • 11 Jun ’14

    WOW, I never have been the selfish kind. I always put others before myself. That also can be a downfall. Don’t feel bad Necole, kids are often selfish when it comes to their parents. When you are use to someone always being there for you, its natural that you take that for granted. Trust me, I know, I have two selfish daughters and I had to learn that its a normal process of a child. I experienced death of my grandma whom I was close too at a very young age (7), that is when I think I became a people pleaser.

  • Diamond B.
    Reply
    26 Jun ’14

    Hey Ms. Necole, I usually don’t respond or post under articles and such but when I saw you respond, I was like okay I’ll share. But my name is Diamond Bradley, I’m 17 years old and on July 24 it was be 5 years of my mothers death she died when I was 12 years old from a massive heart attack. She was my best friend and my hero, and I felt the same guilt your feeling. But with time I learned that I she wouldn’t want me to dwell in sorrow over her and for me to be happy and living my dreams. But I must say your mother has to be so proud of the motivation and confidence that you have, because in the beginning its a everyday struggle and your whole routine like you said changes. But nobody but yourself can make you change and push yourself, but I just wanted to say this article made me happy and made me think about my mother, not saying that I never do but just about far I have come without her and how much I want to make her proud. Like I just graduated this May and its so scary because I’m about to enter the world as a woman and I don’t have the woman figure that so many others have (not to down play the women in my life) and its like your job is one of my dreams. An seeing that you overcome that proves to me that I can do something and tell my story along the way.

    Thank you,

    Diamond B.

  • Renee
    Reply
    3 Jul ’14

    Thank you for sharing this. I grew much like August, with a step father addicted to drugs and a mother that wouldn’t leave. I’m in the process of trying to heal from the hurt and pain. It brings some relief knowing I’m not the only one.

  • 3 Jul ’14

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    to write.

  • 3 Jul ’14

    Hi friends, its wonderful article regarding educationand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

  • 5 Jul ’14

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!

    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • 5 Jul ’14

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless,
    just wanted to say great blog!

  • 9 Jul ’14

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  • Elliot
    Reply
    17 Jul ’14

    Thank you very much for this post Necole, you truly are a blessing to our lives and God will keep on blessing because of the work you do. You’re not just a gossip blogger, you’re a living, breathing human being with obstacles like anyone of us and a great motivation to everyone of us. Thank you Necole!

  • 22 Jul ’14

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  • 23 Jul ’14

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  • Fuckthelemons
    Reply
    8 Aug ’14

    Very powerful. I’ve been reading your gossip blog and saw your “get to know necole” very glad I did. It’s hard to find strong women who’ve lost and in a sense gained from a loss of a parent non the less a mother. It is even more difficult to find those who understand. Also that faith in what’s to come for your success is so real! I lost my mother in 2009, I was 19, and in the following months to years, I experienced an array of mixed emotions and became so lost, ultimately in a search to make my mother proud(i believe shes still spiritually very much with me and blesses me daily) i became very selfless and a much kinder person to the world. Its amazing to see other woman so strong doing the same keep it up girl, & Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Kwana Mitchell
    Reply
    23 Sep ’14

    Omg! That was a touching story.Mothers are always thinking of their babies. Thanks for sharing that.

  • ChaneL
    Reply
    3 Jul ’15

    This definitely had me crying…!

  • Jasmine
    Reply
    4 Jul ’15

    I can totally relate to your story. I experienced something very similar. I was young, working, in college, enjoying life and my mom was suffering. I thought about myself all the time and a few months later she was gone. I lost a piece of myself and to this day( it’s been four years) I still cry. It hurts, I feel alone at times without her. Thank you for your story.

  • 26 Sep ’15

    Hi Necole, my mom passed away from breast cancer as well but I was only 8 years old. I have very few memories and very little time as she was sick for a total of 4 years. I can somewhat relate to your story because I do remember her laying in the bed and asking me to sit with her on numerous occasions but I was too eager to run outside to play…that memory pops up regularly and I am very far from 8 🙂

    Yes, we all have our unique stories but I wanted to say I hope you feel more joy than anything else about the time you had with your mom.

    Keep rising! Proud of you.

    Best Regards, Taj xxo

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