As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I can’t help but think of two mothers in the Reno community that we have lost recently: Sarah Herndon and Emily Reese, both women I met through Reno Moms Blog.
I met Sarah when she came to my house to talk to me about a sponsored post. I felt an immediate connection with her, and was floored when she told me that she had metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her brain, but that she was “doing great and beating it.” I mean, what do you say in response to that? But Sarah’s positive attitude embodied everything she did, and I soon came to think of her as a friend. She was a single mother to her two daughters, and she poured her heart and soul into those girls. In her Facebook profile intro, Sarah introduced herself as “A gleaming ball of light in the wake of really big storms.”
That was a perfect way for her to describe herself.
Sarah seemed to be a picture of health, living life to her fullest by running her own business and taking her girls to Disneyland. But in January 2018, I was shocked to learn that she had developed chronic pneumonia, and on January 31, 2018, she passed away at 31 years old.
I think of Sarah often, and how much it must have broken her heart to have to leave her two daughters.
My children go to the same school as Sarah’s. At a recent music performance, I was getting frustrated with how long the performance was and how I had to sit through four grade levels worth of performances before my child took the stage. That is until Sarah’s daughter got up to do a solo of Over The Rainbow, and she dedicated it to her mother. Tears welled in my eyes, as I immediately thought how much Sarah would have loved to have been at this and every performance for her girls. A sense of gratitude rose up in me, as I looked at this event from different eyes, and appreciated every second from there on out.
I met Emily while doing a radio show interview for Reno Moms Blog. Emily was on the show talking about her candidacy for WCSD Board of Trustees. I felt an immediate connection to her as well, loving her sense of humor and passion for local education and local politics. Emily endured a long fight with cancer; though I didn’t get to know her more than that first meeting, she was an incredible writer, and I was taken by her facebook posts that she dubbed the Cancer Ramblings. Even while staring a terminal cancer diagnosis in the face, Emily poured her heart into her writing, sharing intimate details of her challenges, joys and her undying love for her three children, whom she dubbed the “three little birds” after the Bob Marley song.
Emily died on November 3, 2018, after a nine-year battle with cancer. She used her diagnosis and knowledge of her limited time as an inspiration to show all the love she had, advocate for equal access to healthcare, to share the humor and light in her situation, and truly live life to its fullest.
Emily is also often on my mind, especially when I hear that Bob Marley song. I think of how much she inspired me. I think about her devotion to her children, and how she proclaimed her love for them loudly and often. I know without a doubt that saying goodbye to her children was the most heartbreaking and challenging moment of her life.
As we look to celebrate Mother’s Day this upcoming weekend, I think of how each of these women inspired me and appreciated every single moment they had with their children. Because of them, I remember to stay in the moment, and show my love as often as I can, because we truly don’t know how long we have on this earth and how many days we have left with our children.
The true gift this Mother’s Day — and every day — is the gift of time that we have with our loved ones.
I encourage you to be fully present, hug your kids close, and openly talk about your love for them. Do it in honor of Sarah and Emily, because this is exactly how both of them would be celebrating this holiday if they could.
In honor of their legacy, I also encourage you to make your healthcare a priority, ensuring that you get your annual mammograms and colorectal cancer screenings.