Today is Halloween. All Hallows’ Eve. All Saints’ Eve. The day, when where I’m from, we light candles for those we’ve lost because it’s said that the veil between this life and the next is the thinnest, which makes me wonder: if you could have a dinner, inviting any ten guests, dead or alive, who would it be?
Personally, I’d like to meet my mother, but I’m also scared of meeting her. I don’t really know who she was when alive. She died when I was six.
One day, several years ago, I suddenly realized I always thought that my mother, if I met her, would have been disappointed in me. The fact that my finances were always a disaster while I was off on some adventure to live my dreams and rescue kids in Africa. That she’d read me the riot act. That she’d see me as the black sheep of the family — the artist, entrepreneur and hopeless dreamer who didn’t have it all figured out. I was scared we’d have nothing in common beyond wanting to heal people. She was a nurse. I almost became an MD. And I still desire to aid people in healing; mentally, physically, spiritually.
In short, I was scared all my mother would do, was judge me.
I’d gotten so used to being the person everyone wanted to be someone else, I figured I’d just be a disappointment to her.
Isn’t that a fucked up way to live life? To think that your mother wouldn’t love you because you’ve made mistakes? That she wouldn’t even want to see you, because you’re not like her?
Today, I’m not the woman sitting on that couch, wondering if my mother would love me. As a mother myself now, I know that all we dream of for our children is for them to find happiness. We do not care that they screw up, we only care about them finding their way again. We do not punish, we love.
Yes, many of us, as parents, will use punishment, just as we will use encouragement, as a way of making our children follow a path we believe to be right. Be that to brush their teeth, or stay off drugs, but in our hearts, all we seek is their happiness. Their joy. For them to be loved. For them to live a life they love.
Maybe, if my mother came down from heaven, all she would do, would be to hold me and tell me it’s OK. That my mistakes are alright — that we all make them. Maybe all she’d want would be to see her daughter.
The thing with life, is that none of us were born with a map. We all get lost. Some more than others. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to find our path. Nor does it mean we don’t deserve to be loved.
In short, I don’t think our loved ones in heaven want to punish us for our sins; for our mistakes; or for getting lost. They just want us to find our way to happiness again; find our path. Because that’s the highest desire you can have for anyone else. And, most likely, they’d want just one more day with us.
I don’t really miss my mother. I was too young when she died. I miss my gran on the other hand. I’d like to take my gran for a trip to Paris and walk around the streets, spending hours talking, laughing and baking. I bake pancakes pretty much every weekend and I know it’s not just because I love pancakes, it’s because when I do that, I carry a piece of her with me. I also listen to French radio to calm my nerves. I find strength in doing the things we used to do together; feel her love when doing them.
I can’t meet my mother, but I can honor her as a parent, by seeing myself through her eyes; loving myself and supporting myself in finding my path, instead of beating myself up for getting lost.
I can’t go with gran to Paris, but I can go to Paris with someone else who loves me as much as she did and loves doing the things I love, the way she did.
There are many people I’d like to invite for dinner, ranging from Tim Ferriss to Leonardo da Vinci and Shakespeare. I wouldn’t mind Branson, Jolie, Di Caprio, Scorsese, Mandela, Musk and a bunch of other people to gather around my dinner table. I’d invite half of Silicone Valley too, for good measure. There are many, many incredible hearts and minds in this world. So many. The thing is, by looking for those who are not there, we miss the ones who are. Our children. Our family. Our friends. Our partners. One day, all of them will be in heaven too. Now is our time with them; our chance to honor them by creating beautiful experiences with them.
Or as Angelina Jolie said: “That’s the reason we kind of exist. To give to each other. And learn from each other. To capture the moments of people. So I find it really strange to have somebody ignore the obvious human being right in front of them.”