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The Look

Author: D Anthony, D-Rose Impressions, 05/01

* Excerpt from the motivational and inspirational book,
The Nurse in the Delivery Room Slapped Me... Once *


Since I can remember, I've always been the kind of person who knew what I wanted in life. My personality was upbeat… my outlook and aspirations were eclipsed only by confidence in my abilities and myself. Life held unlimited surprises. The future was an open canvas just waiting for me to supply form, vibrancy and passion. Then my mother passed away.

She meant everything to me. For the duration of a life she had sacrificed for me. She sacrificed her time, her hopes, her dreams, her peace of mind, her health, her aspirations and her marriage. She sacrificed herself. She loved me and the rest of her kids like there was no tomorrow. (Maybe because unlike me, she comprehended that there would not always be a tomorrow.) My Mom would have given anything she had for me. And because I recognized that, and loved her so much, I would have gladly given up my most prized possession for her - my life.

Sure… everybody has a mother. But not everyone has a mother like mine. My Mom cared about three things - faith, friends and her family. Her happiness was always derived from one of those three sources. But seemingly it was family that brought the most joy - and the most pain. I can't remember many times when my Mom's happiness was not directly linked to someone in the family. And when she was proud of her 'baby boy'… to me, she seemed the happiest of all. Good report cards, awards, graduation from the top ranked high school, glowing reports from neighbors, college graduation, full and part time jobs, every thoughtful deed I did - this made her proud. This produced the look... It was a look that started as a twinkle in her eyes and eventually spilled over into the most heartwarming smile. Whether she fully comprehended the particulars of the effort or not, she comprehended enough to know she was proud.

And I loved the feeling of the look… that feeling of "that's my son, he came from me". And as the years went by that feeling, that desire to see the expression of pride… to feel the accompanying pure, unadulterated love became the most important objective in my life. I wanted to succeed not just to be successful - I wanted to make my Mom proud of me every chance I got.

It's a funny thing about life though… just when you think you've got it all figured out…

My Mom was taken out of my life merely months after I bought a house for her to relocate and move in with me. With one last breath she was gone. No more hugs… no more I just call to say I love you… no more jokes about how tall she was (or wasn't)… no more hearing I am a workaholic… no more smiles… no more expressions of pride… no more Mom.

I was crushed. For the first time I truly comprehended the meaning… the feeling of heartache. If you've never been there, I don't have the words to explain it. And if you have been there… I mean truly been there, I don't need to… It's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of having a one ton weight delicately balanced on your chest while someone methodically peels away each and every layer of your heart with a dull, corroded butter knife. Needless to say, it's not a good place to be.

For the first time in my aspiration driven life my reason was gone - and with her my purpose, my interest, and any hope for the future. What was the point? The most important person in the world was just taken away - and nothing else mattered. For the first time in my life I knew what it was not to care. As I look back on it, I didn't care how the people around me felt… I didn't care what tomorrow would bring… truth be told, at times, I didn't care whether I lived or died.

Then, in the midst of sorrow, I figured it out. My purpose in life was to use my talents, meshed with what I had learned to extend a positive message. In this I found a reason for living. I figured if I made the intended positive impact on the world, my Mom's passing would not be in vein. Further, my faith told me that following in her footsteps as best I could, helping others along the way - I would see her again.

So I started an inspirational web site. I surmised that inspirational stories, poems, quotes and even humor would help people with issues cope - while offering a huge dose of perspective to everyone else. There in I found my new reason for living. The overwhelming bulk of my time (outside of working and sleeping) was dedicated to establishing a presence for the website. This mission absorbed me. It gave my life and my mother's death meaning. Within three years, I had made it through my devastating loss… through the pain… through not wanting to be here… to the other side. Well, not exactly…

Something seemed to be missing. Let's see… I had my purpose, thus my life had direction again. My faith was stronger than ever. But I wasn't happy. In fact, concepts like personal happiness, relationships, interpersonal communication, aspirations, all paramount to me before - had ceased to be important to me. My only focus was making an impact in my mother's name. My perspective on anyone who didn't understand was tough. I had found the only logic that made any sense to me - and making it happen was all that mattered. And in the end how much did it matter anyway? You are born… you are young and innocent… you are happy… eventually life hits you right between the eyes… no rhyme… no reason… innocence is lost… you maintain… at some point you die. Amazingly enough, at the same time that I was growing a website full of inspiration and perspective - that's how I felt inside.

Over time, family interactions became rare, friends fell out of touch and I shifted into a comfortable auto pilot mode. I worked on the job. I came home. I worked on the site. Happiness was for the innocent. And my innocence died along with my mother. Life was what it was. Right?


Life is about so much more. (Life is less about the words in the philosophy expressed a couple of paragraphs ago - and more about the dots.) The almighty creator does allow pain and sorrow into your life, but he also allows laughter, hope and love. Life is about dealing with the bad and finding the good. Life is about learning you don't understand and being okay with it anyway. Life is about whatever happiness you can manage to find along the way. Life is about your faith and caring for others. Life is about caring about yourself, everyday. In the end, life is about what you choose to do with your dots.

I think my mother knew these simple truths - and it was all she ever wanted for my sisters, my brother and me.

To tell you the truth I'm not sure exactly what brought me out of it. Maybe it was time. Maybe it was hearing my better half tell a neighbor - "It can't be hibernation because hibernation doesn't last year round". Maybe it was a friend's question about whether my Mom would be happy knowing I didn't care about my own happiness. Maybe it was the Lord telling me it was time to move on. Maybe it was Mom - looking out for me as always. (I believe it was a little of each...)

I rented the 'Legend of Bagger Vance' video recently and found a particular scene compelling. Matt Daimon's character, who had lost his will to live says (paraphrasing) - What is the point… you live, life deals you harsh blows, you die and nobody cares. (Sound familiar?) To which Will Smith's character, an even-tempered, good-natured, mysterious being that appears out of nowhere and eventually departs in similar fashion, answers (paraphrasing again) - Well that's about the saddest story… and the stupidest thing I ever heard. You would have to see the movie to understand. It spoke volumes to me. That was only the second saddest and stupidest story I had ever heard. The most was my own.

Whatever the reason… I'm coming out of it. I have been rediscovering family and friends. I am sharing my inner feelings more. I'm even doing some planning for the future. Sunrises are a little brighter - and hope is re-finding its way.

I now know my Mom didn't sacrifice everything she did for me to throw my life away. My Mom sacrificed so that I would have a chance to be happy. She didn't give me that I'm so proud of you smile when I gave up without a fight. She gave me that look when I met challenges head on… when I made a difference in my life and the lives of others.

Mom, get ready with the look…





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Your thoughts on 'The Look'

It was very inspiring


I am struck by the passion the author has for his Mother. For all of us Mother is our first love, yet few of us love so profoundly that we make "love of Mother" the prime motivation for personal accomplishments. So I think we have here the convergence of an extraordinary Mother with an exceptional child.

Wow, and it has produced a gift to the world manifested in this web site. Thank you, thank you. The lesson for me is hammer this unspeakable sorrow into something wonderful. You have shown us that it can be done.



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