"My mom taught me everything except how to live without her." —Unknown

My mother was my first love. She taught me to stand and be strong in the face of adversity. Everything I am and everything I have ever done is because she was my mother. She was my best friend.

On March 5, 2013, my life changed forever…she left me here without instructions of how to cope with life without her. I collapsed into a very dark and devastating place for more than a year. The extent of the loss did not occur to me until I experienced a severe panic attack while driving on a highway at a high rate of speed and couldn’t breathe. Fortunately, I was able to hit my phone and dialed the last number and one of my best friends, a therapist, was able to get me to a point where I could take in a breath and begin to breathe normally. I immediately sought counseling to find a way to cope without my mother. Working through rage and guilt took some time, but I am more able to walk through this life without my first love, my best friend.

I may not ever get to the point where I am not triggered and cry at the thought of life without her (I am writing through tears right now), however, I understand that I am and the world is a better place because she was my mom and she was here.

Signed: Signa, A Motherless Daughter

Signa Oliver

Signa is the RI International Human Resources Director and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council.