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When Tragedy Jumpstarts Reinvention

Today we are featuring an incredible mum (yes, I say mum because she's British) whose personal story literally left me with tears streaming down my face. Get ready to be inspired by our latest mom of reinvention.

Role Mommy: What did you do before you became a mom?
Debi: I worked full time as a customer relations manager for a tour operator based in London, UK. I was also a fairly selfish, materialistic person who after leaving home at 17, cared little for my family and would often go weeks without calling home.
I can recall after giving birth to my first child at age 28 I called my Mum and the first words I said were: "I'm sorry."

Role Mommy: When did you decide to reinvent your life?
Debi: I didn't actually make that decision....it was made for me.

ollie thomas-1.jpgRole Mommy: How have your children influenced your career path? How many do you have?
Debi: I am a mother of three children, Jessica 17, George 14 and my youngest Ollie who I sadly lost at age 7 to a brain tumor. It was Ollie who influenced and changed my life quite profoundly. His quiet courage and grace opened my eyes to many personal fears I had carried for years and to fully appreciate the beauty of this precious life that so many of us fail to see. We always imagine that tomorrow will come, we take for granted the simplicity of routine, that our loved ones will walk through the door, that the sun will always shine despite we don't always see or feel its warmth....the blinkers of an expected life blinding us to what is valuable and most important; true happiness. Through the wise young eyes of my son I came to learn much about myself and the painful reality that for many years I was one such person who thought she was happy, yet had been living a life of harbored resentment and incompleteness. It was safer that way you see. Safe to hide in the shackles of conformity and expectancy from both my family and society.

In those harrowing, black days of grief I could feel myself swirling out of control and desperately wanted it to end.
It was not to be.

The following is a excerpt from my book "All Aboard!" on how that came about:
I am a mother of three. I am the person you pass in the street every day without looking. I am quite ordinary.....yet my story is anything BUT.....and if you knew me...you would gasp.

Just over a year ago I lay buried deep in the wretchedness of my sorrow.....the pain so unbearable it hurt my eyes, my teeth, my skin....I could barely breath....let alone talk or put one foot in front of the other. So damn hard to get OUT,....and I wanted OUT big time.

I wanted to die.....but my pain wouldn't allow it. I didn't have the energy, despite I wasn't moving.....still as night.....yet screaming inside....the noise crushing my mind.
One night, in the midst of the blackness and oblivious to all around me, I was drifting further and further into my hell hole when a voice spoke inside my head.
I recognized the voice immediately....and the voice was not speaking. The voice was singing...
...
"Oh yes it's great to be an engine as you speed along...puff puff puffing along...all day!..."
A happy, upbeat song...and one I knew only too well....where the hell was it coming from?
"I love you Mummy...always and forever..."
'Ollie?'
He smiles his big cheeky grin and continues singing..."Thomas The Tank Engine!! Toot! Toot!!...."

I laugh out loud at the insanity of the situation...'I'm going bloody mad!! I'm actually going mad!!' I shouted to the darkness. I even waited for one of my family to come into my room and tell me to keep quiet...but no one came.
"la,...la la....la la la la la la...and don't forget Percy!!"...Ollie giggles before continuing.

Ollie, seven years old and the youngest of my three children...who had died some 6 days earlier....was singing inside my head....and giggling...and talking. What the?!
This is stupid, I think to myself...and I try to rationalize what's happening. This is just utterly ridiculous!

"I love you Mummy...always and forever...." And I see him smile his perfect smile as he says that.

"You have to tell them Mummy...."

What?

"I love you Mummy...and you have to tell them...."

And Ollie goes back to his most favorite of the Thomas songs.....the same one which was playing as he lay dying in the arms of his Dad and myself.....
"Oh yes it's great to be an engine as you speed along...puff puff puffing along...all day!!..."

I am a wreck. My pain is enormous.....yet somehow I summon everything I have to get out of bed...my body is slow, awkward...heavy. My eyes are swollen and sore...yet still the tidal wave of tears flow without mercy as my sobs rack in unison.

I am at the computer.

I type the words "All Aboard!"

I have begun.

What followed is now a complete book yet in fact is far more than that. It is a journey into my soul and into finding my true place in this world and ultimately, peace and joy which is where I am today. I share my experience with many as a public speaker and also in my role as a teacher and personal trainer where I am able to reach and inspire others on a daily basis and be inspired in the process. Everything happens for a reason and people meet and are connected for a purpose, even if we are not sure why.

Role Mommy: What's your favorite "Time Out" tip for moms (taking time for yourself)
Debi: Time on your own to be YOU...the woman inside who whilst fully embraces the joys of motherhood is a woman in her own right so time for her to shine in her own light; unleash the dancer, the singer, the writer, the musician or simply wallow in your private joy of pampering or time alone with your thoughts via meditation or a stroll along the beach. As mothers we are always there for our children and ridiculously often feel that time out for ourselves is selfish....yet I have come to learn from my experience and of other Mums that to be a happy Mum means remembering the woman we were before our children came and continue to nurture that part of ourselves.

Role Mommy: What does your book offer moms?
Debi: A gift...that unfolds with each page - From the Mums who have already offered me gracious comments after reading the book all were unanimous in how sharing the journey of my child afforded them great insight and humble blessings of their own children, their families, themselves and inspired of the belief that despite the often cruel world we are witness to via the media...love, really does conquer all and their hearts were touched forever.

Role Mommy: What do you hope for your own kids?
Debi: It may seem simplistic yet all I hope is that their lives be filled with peace, joy and love. That they live a life they want, not what others expect. I do not expect my children to attend a college or become lawyers and doctors. That is their choice yet I feed them the information and provide love, support and encouragement of their growth in whatever direction life will lead them.

Role Mommy: Who is your Role Mommy?
Debi: That is a tough question because there are so many I admire and respect from afar and I learn and grow from them all, including my own Mum, my Step Mum, my Granny and my sister.

If you'd like to find out more about Debi and her book, check out her My Space page.

Posted in: Blog, Daily Shout Out, Moms of Reinvention on 07/29/2008

Comments

  • Beth

    What an amazing story! I can't wait to read that book!

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