This year has undoubtedly been one of the hardest years I have endured. My mom passed away unexpectedly in February. We were very close, and I have tried to view life through a glass half full. By this, I mean: I hope she passed in a way that was painless for her, and I hope she knows how much I love her with every breath I take. 

I have been treating each day as a precious gift, taking it as it comes, but I also needed to get to a place where I felt a sense of solitude again. I channel my inner peace by traveling, one of my favorite things in the world. My Mom's memories will always be in my heart, but I have been able to handle grief through my love of exploration and mindfulness.

Everyone process grief differently. My suggestions for you are guided by what I love:

1. Spend Time At The Beach: The sound of waves, sand covering my feet, and warmth of the sun (under an umbrella, of course) has always put me in my happy place. I have fond memories being near the beach, especially growing up in Santa Barbara.  Exploring Playa Del Carmen in May was a new yet familiar experience because the sounds and the smells of the beach made me feel like I was home again. 

THE BEACHES OF TULUM, MEXICO 

THE BEACHES OF TULUM, MEXICO 

 

2. Yoga Retreat: Yoga is a practice where I am truly able to be at peace. Where my mind and body are at one, AND I get an incredible workout. A retreat is on my 'to try' list. If I love every session I have attended, why not make a weekend out of it? 

YOGA IS AMAZING FOR THE MIND, BODY, AND SOUL

YOGA IS AMAZING FOR THE MIND, BODY, AND SOUL

 

3. Time In The Mountains: A place where the mountains meet the sky. Another spot that completely inspires me to believe in all the wonders of this world. It is serene, absolutely beautiful, and relatively untouched. It is a place for me to breathe fresh air and to simply smile. 

THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, VIRGINIA 

THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, VIRGINIA 

 

4. Visit A Loved One: Seeing a familiar face and sharing a mutual bond brings comfort to my soul. Being able to talk about my Mom with people who knew and love her is always a good thing. It's an awesome reminder about how she is loved around the world. 

VISITING MY PARENTS IN FLORIDA 

VISITING MY PARENTS IN FLORIDA 

 

5. Go To A Place Where You Have Amazing Memories: I recently went back to Charlottesville, Virginia where I went to undergraduate school. I remember how proud my Mom was seeing me graduate. My roommates and I hosted a party in one of the gardens on the University of Virginia grounds, and I could picture her smiling face wherever I went that weekend. Knowing we shared special moments together, even if it was over a decade ago, warmed my heart. 

Bonus Moment: My Mom loved magnolia trees. To my recent discovery, not only are they planted all around the UVA grounds, the flowers were in full bloom when I was there.  

A MAGNOLIA IN FULL BLOOM ON THE UNIVERSITY GROUNDS 

A MAGNOLIA IN FULL BLOOM ON THE UNIVERSITY GROUNDS 

 

I want to remind you again that everyone processes grief differently and there are no two situations that are alike. Give yourself time to heal, and celebrate precious moments the best way you know how. I will continue to travel, I will continue to be mindful, and I will always remember her everyday through my experiences.