30 Days of Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

What's the Story Behind Be Positive Mom?September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and September 1 marks the start to 30 days of teal. The month will include gatherings, celebrations and fundraisers across the nation. It’s a reminder to educate ourselves and be diligent with our health. Ovarian Cancer whispers during the early stages so it’s important to listen to the subtle signs.

My sister was diagnosed when she was in her early thirties. She fought the battle for over two years and passed away when she was just thirty-four. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month marks the a time to educate others and is a reminder the anniversary of her passing is October 4. It’s the season of remembrance and gratitude for the short time we had together. She always said if her story could help another woman detect this disease earlier than she found hers, then her fight was worth it. Continue reading

Book Review: SARK’s Glad No Matter What

Glad No Matter WhatWhen my sister passed away, things were very foggy. It lasted for a couple of years in fact. It was the grieving process that I didn’t expect or understand at the time. As that fog lifted, I realized that although I lost a very special person in my life sometimes a life changing event can still provide many gifts.

One gift was blogging. Because of the of the loss of my sister, I started my first blog Be Positive Mom®. That was the start of many twists, turns, ins and out in my life.

I came across a women who is known as SARK. She has a loyal  community filled  with  those she inspires, but new to me. Continue reading

The Lawn Mower, A Rock, and The Cemetery

This week is kind of a tough one. My sister’s anniversary of her passing from Ovarian Cancer  is always bitter sweet. It’s a time when I think about fun memories that make me smile, but also a time when I miss her so immensely. Being that it’s fall and also my favorite time of year though, I thought I’d lighten it up a bit from yesterday’s post with a story about my sister that makes me laugh. Maybe you’ll get a giggle out of it, too.

Are you wondering what the lawn mower, a rock and the cemetery have in common?

The day after my sister’s funeral I went to the cemetery. Things felt like a whirlwind and I really didn’t know what was next. It’s that whole stages of grief thing. I went to her grave and knelt down, tears were flowing and I was having my moment. My moment though was filled with utter annoyance because the gardener was there mowing the lawn with a giant lawn mower right near me and right in the middle of my moment with my sister.

I tried to ignore it but he was zooming around, cutting the grass with his obnoxious machine and then it happened…. a direct hit. I was shot. Yep, shot right in the a*s with a rock!

I jumped straight into the air, looked around and saw the gardener driving away. I don’t think he noticed what happened. I went from sobbing to cracking up.

I knew in that moment it was my sister kicking my butt, telling me to stop crying and sending her message to me to get a move on.

So, that’s what I’ve done over the last 4 years. Life keeps moving. I recognize that, but I will always continue to honor her because she was so special to so many. She continues to inspire even those who didn’t know her personally.

Onward and upward I go. I know she would have wanted it that way.

 

 

 

 

Gone But Never Forgotten

BostonTrip_6

My sister Stacy.

I think this is my favorite picture of my sister Stacy. It was taken in Boston while we were on a trip to see our older sister back in 2004. Our sister moved to the East Coast so Stacy and I headed out for a visit. It was long before I became a mom or a working mom for that matter. We had such a  great time exploring, hanging out and having sister fun.

Not too long after this picture was taken our world turn upside down when Stacy was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She passed away on this day, October 4, 2007.

It’s the day each year since 2007 when things slow down in my mind, my heart and my soul because losing a sibling always stays with you. It’s always with me. I feel a bubble in my throat as I write this post, that kind when you know you are going to well up and cry. I still cry, often.

I want to also share with you if you don’t already know, Be Positive Mom ®  (my first blog) wouldn’t have started without her, without that experience. I wouldn’t be who I am without her and if you are reading this and knew her, I know you have been touched by her being in your life, too.

So when I look at that beaming smile in this picture, I think of all the adventures, the sister fights and sister love. I am thankful that even for the short time she was in my life, she taught me (and many others) an overflowing glass of life lessons, the kind that will last until the end of my days.

I love you sis, thank you.

 

The Interviews: From Awareness to Knowledge

Ovarian Cancer AwarenessHappy September 1st!  Where did summer go? We are just about at Labor Day weekend and that means it’s back to school, back to busy! All too often we tell ourselves we are too busy to get certain things done.

September is near and dear to my heart because it is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.   Following this month, October 4th to be exact, my family will be remembering my sister Stacy who died from Ovarian Cancer. Continue reading

What’s The Story Behind Be Positive Mom®?

Be Positive was around long before I started a blog called Be Positive Mom®. It all started around 2005 when my hubs and I (before kids) lived in Arizona. We were there just a short stint because soon after our move, my sister Stacy was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, Stage 4. The outlook was bleak. My hubs and I moved back to California for what was going to be a very difficult journey.

Sisters: Nicole, Stephanie and Stacy

My sister had a very spirited personality. She loved to party and play. She was driven and confident yet had her moments of being vulnerable. Who doesn’t?

The first option doctors gave her was an aggressive surgery that she chose to do. The day of her surgery she found out her blood type was B+. She made a joke by telling us to “Be Positive” and everything would be OK.

We were all scared and upset but she didn’t want any sad face. She yelled down the hallway as they wheeled her to surgery, “Be Positive!” and waved her hand in the air as if she was scolding us.

The concept for Be Positive came out of that moment for our family. A friend and I campaigned to family and other friends with B+ t-shirts and the proceeds from the shirts we sold went to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. We all wore them to support my sister and she wore her shirts to her appointments. Of course she had an assortment of colors.

Throughout her 2 ½ year battle, she maintained her positive, motivating and infectious attitude. Stacy passed away October 4, 2007.

In her last days, she told me that if her fight and eventually her death helped another woman become more aware of this disease, get a check-up or prevent the disease from being found so late (as it was with her), then all she went through would be worth it.

Until just a short time ago, I could barely type let alone say the word cancer. I never knew how I could possibly do anything with her message. I don’t think my focus can ever be on the fight against cancer or finding a cure exclusively because it is so painful. That may seem selfish I know.

As I thought about writing, blogging, and what eventually led to developing Be Positive Mom®, I had an epiphany about those two words, Be Positive. And shortly thereafter Be Positive Mom® was born! I created Be Positive Mom® and blogged there for many years. In 2014, I shifted the blog to this current site. My sister is still very much a part of why I blog and how I live my life.

I miss my sister immensely and think of her every day. Some days are harder than others but I know things happen for a reason. It took me a while to realize her message is not so much about the cancer that caused her death, but about having a positive attitude so you can live life to its fullest potential.

Me and Stacy in Boston 2003.

Take the time to smell those roses and enjoy the moments that will pass by so quickly. Laugh off the stressful things. Flip it around to look at the bright side.

I once read a fellow blogger’s comment stating that many people start blogging as a result of a life altering experience. I will raise my hand as one of those people. The journey with my sister changed my life forever.

Stacy’s message in Be Positive or mine in Be Positive Mom® may not save the world. At the very least, it will put some positive energy back into it.

I love you sis… thank you…

 

Be Positive Mom® is a registered trademark and although it’s not longer a public facing website, the message and meaning it carries will forever be in my heart, my soul and how I live my life every day.

 

The Auntie They Will Never Know

I went into the blue box today. It’s the same box that has sat in my closet for a few years now and it’s the same blue box I purposely avoid on a day-to-day basis. I wanted to read something that was in it. I wrote it for my babies auntie who died on this day (October 4th) just three short years ago.

Today is the day my family honors my sister’s memory, their Auntie Stacy. It’s a time when we hear from old friends and reconnect with family. It’s a different year for me because my family has grown with the addition of my little boo who was born in January. Today makes my heart break even more when I think about how my babies have an auntie they will never know.

My little guy was born 11 months prior to my sister’s passing. In a matter of less than a year, I experienced the most beautiful, wonderful moment in my life along with the most devastating. I plan to tell my little guy how his auntie was in the room the moment he was born. I will tell my little boo, who was born just over 2 years after her passing, that her auntie is with her and her big brother in spirit every day.

They will only know their auntie from pictures and stories my hubby and I share with them. But they will know they have an auntie named Stacy and she was a beautiful, vivacious being with a whole lot of moxie.

Their auntie is one of the reasons that Be Positive Mom exists today. Her attitude and outlook on life was inspiring to all who knew her. She taught me how to roll with the punches and to always take a deep breath even if it’s deeper than the one I took the moment before. She left us too soon. If you paid attention to the lessons being taught in the midst of her journey, you caught a lifetime of learning. Life lessons are only lessons if someone is willing to learn after all…

Before I put that blue box back on the closet shelf for another year, I want to share a piece of what I read to the hundreds of people who were there the night we said goodbye.

“…She made people laugh. She was the life of the party. She cried with her friends and family when they needed a shoulder to cry on. She listened. She helped people all that she could. She traveled. She loved. She partied and played. She stood up for what she believed in. Stacy was an amazingly beautiful women, my sister and my best friend… she will always be forever.”

While they may not know her in person, my babies will know their auntie is watching over them, smiling down on them and protecting them from a beautiful place far, far away.

Stacy in Boston

Stacy in Boston, 2003.