Today, it’s a new day…a new year…a new beginning… For 3 years, The Daily OWN has been moving through the world and celebrating life and love and lessons…one step at a time. Last year, we were a little quiet…there was a reason for this… Last year around this time, we found out our mom had Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. For over 11 months, she fought bravely…doing whatever she had to do to spend more time with her family. “I want 5 years,” she would tell her doctor. She got almost a year…and for each moment of holding her hand, scooping her up when she would fall, or greeting the day with love and hope and helping her move through the journey as she became a warrior and fearless fighter, we are forever grateful, humbled, changed and honored. When I found out mom had cancer, I stumbled upon this article from O Magazine…”Through the Eyes of Love” by Oprah of how Sheri Salata moved through the sudden death of her brother, John. For over 11 months, I would tell myself, “This is love…This is love…” as I sat for each radiation and chemo treatment with mom, packed a snack that often went uneaten, helped her move through the world when she could no longer walk, thanked my family for letting me maneuver my life to focus on her life, rejoiced in a 1/2 eaten cheese sandwich, sat by her side during 104 fevers, and moved through the world as her shadow for 2013…seeing her courage and love in each and every move and decision she made. Her journey ended on November 16th…with more love surrounding her than I ever could have dreamed possible… As my sisters and I walked in from the hospital hospice room we had moved into with mom and back into our home for the first time without her…my sister received a text message within 90 seconds from my stepmother 1200 miles away…”Your dad collapsed in the garage. We are in the ER. It’s very bad. He’s not eaten in two weeks and the cancer is back… ” As my younger sister held out her phone for me to read the message, I could hear my older sister over my shoulder saying, “Can you please take care of this right now. My mom just died…” Without even a breath…we had just dropped our bags to the floor from being with mom at the hospital…and in that moment, the only prayer that I could think of was, “God, please do not let him die today…not today…” Looking for love anywhere, for the next week we planned a private memorial for mom as we FaceTimed with dad every night. Able to go home after a few days, dad made it back to comfort and love, surrounded by the dogs he loved. Each night, we visited for as long as he was able to…watching a Maverick’s game…singing together to The Sound of Music…taking snapshots of our conversation…picture in picture…knowing that this was love. When the calls would end, we would talk…trying to figure out when we could afford to fly back…how we could afford to drive back…how my sister’s and I were going to move through this… The worst ice storm, my father and God took all of those decisions out of our hands and 3 weeks to the day that mom made her transition…dad did too. His last wish…please be kind to each other…and he asked my nephew to take care of one of his dogs…the one he loved the most. And when dad died…it was like mom died all over again…like an exhale of what had just happened over the last few weeks …and each of us emotionally collapsed in our own way…now beginning to move through our journey of how to move on… Bravely, we moved through all of the craziness and drama that followed…and we tried to find the love. The memorial that couldn’t be pushed out for his daughters to be there…collectively writing a statement to be read for us…the calls that never came to Skype or FaceTime us into the service….the unreturned text from “family”…. and then, on Christmas Day…as we made an evening call to my stepmother to wish her a peaceful Christmas to only find out that she had given my father’s dog away…his dying wish to my 15 year old nephew…to her sister in a different state… “a bad decision” she called it. In that moment, pain and rage replaced where love had been …the crack in my heart felt broken for a third time as gifts for my nephew’s dog lay under the tree…a new bed, his favorite treats…ready to welcome him home as soon as we could get him here. At this point…anger and tears flowed where love had lived… What. Is. This. God? But I know the answer. This is life. These are lessons… For myself… For others… For the world around us… And after honoring the anger, the tears and the sadness and the sorrow…as they deserve that recognition and understanding… then take a moment and fill up your heart and spirit with deep breaths and keep moving…because this is what you do… You keep moving… And there is something in all of this that I have learned over this past year….and over these past 45 days… Love never leaves. Love lives within the moments…the memories…the stories… And with each breath you take…there is love moving you forward… Into the next steps of your life… Into the next year… Into your next set of lessons… So be gentle with yourself and the world…be kind with your heart and soul…and all those hearts and souls that cross your path… And move through the world as best as you can… One step…one moment…one breath at a time. And do it with love.