By far, the most intense thing I’ve weathered in my 38 trips around the sun was losing my mom to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
It was slow.
It was brutal.
It was harsh.
There were moments of love so pure, so strong, so rich; words will never do them justice.
There were moments of pain so deep, so great, so overpowering; words will never do them justice.
There were moments of beauty so radiant, so wild, so raw; words will never do them justice.
Suffice it to say that even though I loathed my helplessness during this process, I will never regret the lengths to which I went to be by her side. And I will always cherish the learning’s she gave me—sometimes via words, mostly via actions.
She was courageous.
She was brave.
She was honorable.
She was angry.
She was terrified.
She was ready.
She taught me…
…that there is nothing in life so important as the love and laughter of your family and friends.
…to cherish your partner and stand by them through thick and thin.
…that being judgmental towards yourself and/or anyone else is a wretched waste of time and energy and it should not be borne. Ever. Period.
…that staring death right in the face with openness and acceptance is true strength.
…that life is a gift to be lived with gusto and without apology.
From her bedside, I learned…
…breathing is special. Succulent. Delicious and not nearly as easy as healthy people think of it as being.
…swallowing is sophisticated work and is as delightful as any handstand will ever be.
…love is meant to be given away freely. To any and everyone you can possibly ladle it upon. Without question. Without fear. Without expectation.
…fear is a nasty mother eff’er trying to steal your light at any given point and it is incumbent upon you to never relent!
…nurturing energy is perhaps our greatest gift. And it can be wielded without words, without even moving anything more than your left arm. From your bedside.
And in her memory, I will continue to walk this earth cherishing the beauty and power of each moment. Even if it comes with pain. Even if it comes with sorrow. Because in the end, I have the power to choose joy. And that is what I choose. Joy.
Joy over having ever known a creature so amazing.
Joy over having the chance to create change and encourage others to love their lives exactly the way they are! Right now.
Joy. Just because. Just because I can. Joy.
Rebecca Butler lives in Fort Worth, TX. Here, she fancies herself in a community that is at the genesis of change. By day, she is a self-proclaimed-intensity-junkie yoga teacher, serving as the lead teacher at a local donation based studio known as Karmany Yoga, a mother, and a wife… By night (when the house sleeps), she is a writer, a dreamer and a poet. Her most meaningful moments are sometimes spent pushing a stroller, listening to her latest muse (from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer to Caroline Myss) and picking up after her 90-pound silver lab puppy named Gunner. Her mother passed from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in early 2012. Through this journey, Rebecca learned more about life, love and laughter than any book could have possibly taught her. It is in her memory that Rebecca chooses to live each day in Joy… Joy for life—the ups and downs, breaks and bruises and the glory. Oh, the glory. She has been published on MindBodyGreen, RecoveringYogi, Yoganonymous, and Intent.com. You can find out more about her teaching and writing at www.rebeccabutleryoga.com, or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter at @Rbutleryoga.
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Ed: Wendy Keslick & Brianna Bemel