To The Strongest Woman I Know

Mom,

Have I ever told you what a remarkable person you are? I should have said it long before now. You should know how unique and outstanding you truly are. I want you to set aside everything that brings you doubt, and listen to what I have to say. I love you and though you may not see it, you have played a major role in the person I am today. All the parts of me you’re so proud of and endlessly support, you don’t think you had much of a hand in, because we’re so different. But I’m here to tell you that is was YOUR example that paved the way for the adult I turned out to be.

I see you giving me that skeptical look. Just keep reading…


First – and this is for all readers – my tribute of gratitude was inspired by This Amazing Post Right Here – a touching article about tolerance and the fight for equality for ALL humankind. Please take a moment to read it, like it, share it, draw your own inspiration from it, whatever it takes to keep it moving and growing.


Now, you’re wondering how I got from there to here? I’ll explain.

Author Jean M. Cogdell shared a memory with us in her post about the moment her remarkable mother planted the seeds of tolerance within her and I was immediately touched, drawn in by my own upbringing. So, I began to leave a comment and that comment, instead, turned into this post–because I realized that the person I should be saying all of those things to, was the very woman responsible for them: My mom.

Let me tell you about my mom. She’s a force to be reckoned with, wrapped in a genuine hug. A second generation American born to Irish immigrants. She grew up in Chicago during the Civil Rights Movement and Race Riots that tore that city, and too many others, apart. She was verbally and physically attacked for having friends from the ‘wrong’ side of the segregation lines and for refusing to leave their sides. She didn’t care what anyone said, she knew that everything happening around her was WRONG!

There has never been a time my mother has backed down when she’s seen someone being mistreated, and she can’t be cowed into thinking or believing anything less than what she knows in her heart and soul to be right. She has literally taken a fist to her face to protect others – not just once or twice – not just in Chicago – this has been a lifelong stance for her. She will not stand by and watch someone else being abused when she knows she can do something to try to stop it. That is the core of my mother. Her biggest strength is her integrity, her unyielding sense of right and wrong, and the enormous heart she offers to everyone, without prejudice.

My mom never had to use her words (though, let me tell ya, she did!) to teach me about tolerance, to instill her moral compass within me – she led by example. She showed me that every last person on this earth deserves to be treated with respect, kindness, compassion and dignity. That our opinion should be based solely on an individual’s actions, nothing else. Not race, background, beliefs, nothing.

Mom, I know you feel like you’re not doing anything special, nothing someone else wouldn’t do – but you really are, and you always have. It takes courage to stand up for others–for strangers–to never stop being who you are or fighting for what you know is right. You’re the bravest, most true-to-self and strongest person I know. I’m proud to be your daughter. I admire and look up to you, and I thank you for laying down the examples you did for me, that I was able to pass them on to my children. I know they will pass these examples on to their own kids (way, waaaay in the future), and with each new generation, your influence will help tolerance and compassion for the HUMAN race gain more ground – something this world still desperately needs to see happen.

Thank you, Mom.

 Love, your ever-grateful daughter.

Readers, if you comment, I greatly appreciate it! But even if you don’t, I still hope you find some inspiration here or in Jean Cogdell’s post. We’re not helpless or hopeless, and every new generation reveals a larger capacity for tolerance and compassion. Like our parents before us, we have to empower the up and coming, to keep change in progress rather than the massive, violent regression we witnessed this past week. With enough nurturing, we might one day see hate crimes and bigotry become subjects of history, rather than headlines in the news.

14 thoughts on “To The Strongest Woman I Know

  1. A wonderful tribute to your mum, AC and a great post. It reminded me of this quote by Martin Luther King: “To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.”
    Everyone has to stand for what is right because doing nothing is no longer an option.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish there was a LOVE button because I love this post!

    We see the division and hate played out daily… the media makes sure of it. When we ‘see’ someone standing up for others and for what is right, it’s treated like an aberration… because ‘that’s not how people are.’ Whatever. 😒

    The truth is there’s more good in people… and in this world because of people like your mom and Jean’s mom and my mom… who raised children with values based in love and acceptance. And as you said, they didn’t just ‘tell’ us, they showed us leading by example.

    Hate takes thought and effort. Hate for one thing leads to hate for something else because it poisons and spreads. I cannot imagine living that type of miserable existence. Happiness (and sound peace of mind) are always just out of reach because hate dominates.

    These are troubled times in this country… and the world and unfortunately, we’ve been here before. But people are speaking up and speaking out…because that’s what good people do. Not for praise or profit but because it’s the right thing to do…and it’s done from the heart! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Fle!

      “The media makes sure of it” is absolutely right. That beastie knows exactly how to fuel the negative more than the positive. If all we did was watch the news, we’d be crippled by the weight of seeming hopelessness.

      I believe most people are innately good. Social conditioning keeps trying to render us afraid to speak out, stand up, because we might ‘offend’ someone, or ‘make a scene.’ It’s so incorporated into our behaviors and social acceptance, that it’s hard to lift our heads and voices, and look at what’s really going on, rather than reflexively turning a blind eye. Standing for what’s right, in the defense of humanity, should never be deemed offensive or unacceptable behavior. It should be the norm. People who would attack another out of hate, should be the ones afraid of being condemned for their behavior – not those who would defend the innocent.

      But you’re right, more people – good people – are starting to raise their voices, because enough is enough and our world seen this one too many times. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s