Honoring My Mom on the Six Year Anniversary of Her Death
This past Saturday was the 6 year anniversary of losing my mom to lung cancer. My husband and I have designated February 11 as “Mama Loeb” day, turning the day into a celebration of sorts where we play hookie from any other obligations and try to spend the day in a way that honors her and keeps her a part of our lives, even though she is gone.
A key element of the day is our “Mama Loeb” talk. During her life, she encouraged me to “pay attention,” to be deliberate about my life and not let myself become complacent with circumstances that make me unhappy. The purpose of our talk is to take that advice and touch base with each other about what in our lives makes us happy, what makes us unhappy, and what we can do to change the latter.
This was the first Mama Loeb talk where I had nothing but happiness in my professional life. Starting this law practice was an exciting decision for me, the actualization of a long-held dream. But I am my mother’s daughter, and my mom was a very risk-averse person. Taking the risk of starting my own practice was significantly outside my comfort zone, and I longed for the chance to talk to my mom about the decision, to go through the pros and cons like we had on so many other decisions in my life.
Of course, that wasn’t an option, and I wrestled with trying to conjure the advice she would have given. In the end, I realized that every sacrifice she made was in service of the goal for me to live a happy life. When I thought through what would make me happy – being entrepreneurial, getting to connect to people on a personal level through my professional work, and finding a career that allowed me the flexibility to spend time with my husband and son – I realized that these benefits were worth the risk. I had no choice but to hope she would have agreed with me.
The way my mom raised me and the advice she bestowed upon me gave me the drive to launch this practice. But, the truth is, the estate planning she did and the financial position that estate planning put me in gave me the keys to take the ride. Although she did not prepare a full estate plan – which has led to six difficult years in probate – she did enough planning through a will, beneficiary designations, and life insurance to make it possible for me to grow a new legal practice while having a family with various financial needs. For that – among innumerable other things – I am eternally grateful to her.
I launched this practice to help other people provide for their own families just as my mom provided for me, to help the next generation pursue their dreams and find their own happiness like I have been able to do. I think about her and miss her every day, but I hope that this new adventure honors her and the sacrifices she made throughout her life on my behalf. I hope she knows that I paid attention and that the happiness I feel today is a direct result of the amazing mother she was to me.