“Dance as if no one is watching” are the words printed in crisp silver lettering on my favorite bench in one of my favorite places in the entire world. Any worries, fears, apprehensions, or anxieties cease to follow me to the robin’s egg blue wood bench on twelfth and boardwalk of Ocean City, NJ. This place and this bench help to fill my heart space right where it’s broken and raw, right in the spot that will forever be wounded.
In 2005, my mother took her own life after a long battle with what I refer to as the depression demon. My mom was vivacious, bubbly, and the type of person that everyone loved deeply. She was always moving and doing. She had life to see, and life wanted to see her back. But the depression demon was in the way. Since her passing, my life has obviously been different, challenging, but nonetheless cherished. Let me explain. Often times when people lose a loved one, it’s hard to see the next day when each moment is a series of hopeless wandering, shall we say. I was only 7, almost 8, when my beautiful mother passed. Some say I was too young to understand. To an extent, yes, but I don’t really think anyone understands death. The one thing that I have learned from living through the last 10 years of my life without my birth mother is that life should always be cherished. Through the darkest days and the brightest nights (because for those who lose a loved one, sometimes we sleep through the day and keep our lamps on and eyes open at night) it is possible to lose our sense of meaning, but there will always be the “light at the end of the tunnel” for lack of better words.
Despite my mother’s brutal battle with depression, one thing that she loved more than anything was to dance. Anytime, anywhere. My memory brings me back to the days where she would embarrass me by jammin out in Wawa while she fixed her coffee. Now I do the same in her honor. I get weird stares, but I still dance. The feeling I get when I dance is ineffable. I stopped dance lessons in middle school but I will take any chance I can get to just move. Sometimes I feel my mothers presence (blog later for that) and when I dance, and I am forever grateful.
I encourage everyone who has lost someone to find their “as if no one is watching”.