My name is Theresa Borawski and I have been blessed with a miracle! I have lost 275 pounds, without surgery or fad diets, and went from a wheelchair to a treadmill! This is my story! To read more about my miracle, visit my website: www.theresaborawski.net and/or join my Facebook group: WE CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES!
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Being driven comes naturally
Good Morning and Happy Mother’s Day to all women in the
group, regardless of whether or not you have children/grandchildren of your
own. Today is a day to celebrate women and the ways in which we nurture those
around us. Mother’s Day is not an easy day for me because my mom passed away
when I was in my 20’s and both of my grandmothers have died as well. It doesn’t
seem to matter how much time has passed since their deaths; days like today always
remind me that they are no longer “physically” with me each day…….and yet, I know
that their spirit and tenacity are deeply rooted in my soul.
My mom Pat and Grandma Evelyn
When I finished speaking at the Ladies Day conference on
Friday (it went great, by the way), there was a woman waiting in the lobby to
speak to me. She had heard I was in town and wanted to talk to me about appearing
on her radio show about corporate wellness. Wow…now radio....how cool! In any case, we sat and spoke for a while and
she asked me, “Theresa, have you always been this driven?” I smiled, and said, “Absolutely, however,
most of those close to me refer to me as stubborn and bull-headed.” Driven: I like
that. Usually, I say, “determined,” but driven works. I proceeded to tell her that I learned that
trait from my parents and grandparents.
During the drive back north, I began to reflect on that
conversation and the women who have helped make me strong and ‘driven”, mostly
my mother and grandmothers. In the silence of the car, I thanked them. And on
this Mother’s Day, I thank God for the ways that they continue to influence my
life on a daily basis, even though they have been gone for many years.
My Grandma Brinkmeier, Evelyn, grew up on small farm in
rural Michigan. She experienced grief at a very young age, losing a brother
when he was nine years old. Her 16-year-old sister, along with two of her
cousins, were killed in a trolley car accident while traveling to the church
for the wedding rehearsal of another cousin. Her mother died when my Grandma
was only 12 years old. She developed psoriasis early on in life, and for as
long as I can remember, her body was scabbed with painful sores. And yet….she
was kind, happy, generous, and full of faith. She was a woman of prayer and
always trusted that God would see her through whatever trial or tragedy came
her way. She taught me to be grateful for the blessings in my life….even when life
was hard. In spite of all the hardships
she endured, she always put the needs of others first….and God blessed her with
a happy adult life. She and my grandfather were happily married….and still
deeply in love….for 58 years when she died at age 78. Grandma was my biggest “cheerleader” and in
her eyes, I shone like a star. I really miss her….and yet, I know that her
generous spirit…and her faith….are deeply rooted in me. Unfortunately, so is
her love of food!
My grandma Borawski, Florence, had a similar childhood.
Growing up during the depression, one of six children, money was always tight
and yet, they got somehow got by. She often spoke about wearing hand-me-downs
as a child (hmmm….and here I am a Salvation Army Thrift store queen! J), but when I was
growing up, I loved to go her in bathroom because the counter was COVERED with
make-up, perfume, and lotions of all kinds and she loved clothes (hmmm….again! J). Her grandparents owned some cabins up in Indian
River, Michigan and she spent summers up there in the north woods. This is
likely where my love of northern Michigan came from. Grandma was one of the “toughest”
women I know, and would take on anyone….male or female….that challenged her. As
a bartender for more than 20 years, she often told stories of picking up some
drunk guy and “tossing” him out the door. All she had to do was look at us with
“that look” and all of us grandchildren would straighten up in a minute. And yet… I never remember her ever saying a
cross word to me. In her eyes….I could
do no wrong.
Grandma Florence Borawski Forrest
Like Evelyn’s, my grandma’s life was filled with heartache.
She lost my dad when he was only 34 years old. She never got over his death;
how could you? Those of you that have lost children would understand; I cannot
even begin to comprehend what it must be like to lose a child. She buried a
second son when he was 47. Between that, she dealt with my grandfather, a man
who struggled with alcohol issues, was often drunk, and ended up having a
debilitating stroke in his early 50’s. I never remember grandpa being able to
walk or talk….and yet, my grandma took care of him as long as she could while
continuing to work full-time, maintain a house, and raising six children. I remember
her telling me one time that my father was in the hospital in Detroit (35 miles
in one direction), my grandfather was in the hospital in Toledo (35 miles the
other direction), and my great-grandma was in the hospital in Trenton (in the
middle) and EVERY DAY…even though she didn’t get home from work until 3 a.m.,
she would get up, take care of the household stuff, get things ready for dinner…and
make the trip to see EACH OF THEM in the hospital….before going to work in the
afternoon. How did she do that? How did she get through those years of struggle?
How did she keep going and going and going?
She was strong….and stubborn….and determined….and just somehow found the
strength to “do whatever she had to do.” And she had fun along the way. She was
always the center of attention, well-liked, and the life of the party. She
loved to sing, laugh, have a good time, and celebrate. And….in her eyes…. I could
do no wrong! And even though she didn’t really acknowledge it fully until late
in life when she had nothing but time on her hands, she was a woman of great
faith. To this day, I maintain that my MIRACLE began the day she went to heaven
and had a little chat with God….because her death was the beginning of my
journey to a healthier life. She died in
2011 at age 90….and I miss her deeply. And yet… I KNOW….that her determination,
drive, and strength have been deeply rooted in me….and have been instrumental
to me on my journey.
Finally, my mother…..the woman who gave me life. Another
woman who endured hardship, grief and loss….and yet…was the kindest, most
generous, and caring woman I know. She married the love of her life, my dad, at
age 26, and gave birth to three of us; I am the oldest. I was only eight years
old when mom lost my dad at age 34, leaving her a young widow with three small
children. Although I knew the sting of grief, I never UNDERSTOOD the loss she
must have felt until I grew up and fell in love myself. How do you go on when
you lose the love of your life at such a young age and have to support and
raise three children alone? How do you
make yourself get out of bed each day….go to work….put on a happy face…do what
you have to do? I never remember seeing
her cry until later in life. What I did
see, is a woman who ALWAYS put the needs of others first….coming home exhausted
from work…and yet going to visit the neighbor lady who was dying of cancer, baking
something for the bake sale and church, sending a card to someone who was ill
or lonely, or visiting the sick.
She was an amazing woman….one of GREAT FAITH. She married my
step-dad in the late 1970’s and welcomed his six children into her brood and
shortly after that, she developed cardio-myopathy, a serious heart disease that
would eventually take her life at age 54. And yet….in spite of the crosses she
was given….she always drew her strength from God….and taught me to do the same.
She always believed that God would give her what she needed to handle whatever
came her way. She was driven….she was strong….she was kind…she was loving….and
above all……she was COMPASSIONATE. I
want to be like that when I grow up!
And so…..in these early hours of Mother’s Day, my heart is
somewhat sad today because I miss these three women….and yet, mostly, I am
eternally grateful to them…..and to GOD….for the blessing they were (and
continue to be) in my life. They have taught me to love; to endure; to cherish
each day; to be kind. Mostly, they have taught me to “KEEP ON keeping on” and
to TRUST that no matter what….no matter how hard the road becomes….no matter
how tough the journey is….that GOD will always be at my side; will always
direct my steps; and will always give me what I need to carry on.
So when asked….”Theresa, have you always been this
determined”, I simply must say, “Absolutely, I was taught by the best!” I will
“keep on keeping on” because I know …that wherever they are this day….their
spirit is alive and well in me….and that they are praying for me, supporting
me, and giving me strength.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom…and Grandma’s. I hope that each day of my life I live in a
way that makes you proud….and brings honor to your name.
As you reflect on your own personal journey, try to find
someone in your life…past or present…that will inspire you to keep going when
you are weary and want to give up. Someone that will believe that you can do
it, even when it appears impossible. Someone that will support you; pray for
you; encourage, and always see goodness in you.
Surround yourself with those people; draw strength from them; and when
all else fails….KNOW THAT I WILL DO THAT FOR YOU! I believe in you….I am here for you…. I struggle
with you….and I KNOW that with God….all things are possible! Enjoy your day today….and be especially kind
to those who are sad this day.