One winter morning sensing the turmoil, my mother said to me: “Filha, pinta” (Daughter, paint). She handed me a paintbrush, a canvas, and some paint. Not having ever held a paintbrush, I reluctantly picked up the brush, and clumsily took to the canvas – within minutes I submerged into this incredible foreign world, one brush stroke at a time – by the time the canvas was covered – I awoke from a trance and my soul ascended.
When my father’s employer transferred him to the United States, he realized my family’s lifelong dream of living in this Country. I was twelve when we arrived in America, and was instantly intoxicated by the fragrance of opportunity this great land has to offer. My siblings and I were taught that in America, no dream is too big. For my family, that was the year of hope, the year of forever change.
My mother built a business from scratch, mop by mop, home by home – she since has retired, my father has since retired from his engineering career as well. At times in our lives, my mother worked three jobs cleaning hotel rooms, working in hot kitchens, and taking care of children – All to contribute to our education.
So, when I left a 15 year career in finance to give myself time to reset my life, I found myself in uncharted territory. A place where uncertainty resided. Amid countless new exhilarating emotions, there was shame and a feeling of selfishness. I felt I had let down my parents, I had snubbed at their tireless efforts of providing for my education.
I lived my life to achieve the American Dream, however, through this journey I somehow lost myself – I ended up working 80 hour weeks, and distanced myself from those most important to me. I missed soccer games, school performances, and countless opportunities of time with those most significant in my life.
The day my mother handed me a paintbrush was the day I found my Soul.
Little did I know just the impact learning to paint and sharing studio time with my mother would have in my life. One year after I picked up the paintbrush my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.
My husband and I moved to South Florida from Texas and my sole purpose is to submerge myself in moments spent with my mother.
My mother's will to live and her fight against all odds is my strength every day.