Tiny yet mighty.

Those were the words I used to describe my mom at her funeral. Boy, did I dread writing her eulogy, living the reality of it, and having to deliver it to a church filled with sad friends and family.

But she deserved every word. Here is a modified excerpt of what I wrote:

My mom was tiny yet mighty. There was so much love and joy in that petite frame. She was a gentle spirit who could calm four young children without breaking a sweat.

And she extended that gift to her grandchildren, staying with us when they were born. We called her "the baby whisperer," who also took just as good care of us while she doted on those babies.

And oh, those babies. It's amazing how you finally appreciate your parents once you're an adult. And if you have your own children, looking at your parents through a parental lens is a gift.

Many times, my sisters and I would say, "Seriously, how did mom do this with four kids? She had no cell phone, fewer amenities, and absolutely no complaints."

Talk about a lesson in contentment and inner peace.

She taught us how to be better people and so much more. Here are just some of the lessons I learned from my mom:

  • A good book is better than a Netflix binge any day of the week.
  • Less is more in everything except when it comes to Christmas, family and birthdays.
  • Children and young adults should learn to make their own decisions.
  • Grace and strength under pressure can be learned and emulated.
  • You're never too old to be serenaded by your parents on your birthday.
  • Every child is special. They will all find their gifts and thrive because of it.
  • Hard work pays off in every aspect of your life. Never underestimate it.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit and a well-written story can take you anywhere.
  • A sense of humor goes a long way.
  • Being an Eagles fan is not for the faint of heart and Chip Kelly was not the right fit. (P.S. This was written before they won Super Bowl LII.)
  • A little sand in your toes will keep you grounded and the ocean heals all.
  • Kindness matters.

She taught me that life is about the little things; the memories you're creating on a daily basis.

It's the smell of bacon filling the kitchen; it's the fresh-squeezed orange juice she made for my dad every day; it's making your child's favorite dinner on his birthday; it's having a sense of wonder knowing that holidays are magical; it's the openness in accepting everyone for who they are.

It's the kindness in helping a neighbor. It's finding joy no matter what life throws your way. It's lighting up when you catch a glimpse of your child.

And, it's about having the quiet confidence to let others shine.

Because, it's these little things that make a life worth living and a loss like this one so paramount.

I take comfort in knowing that her many lessons live on through me. Her wise foresight to allow me to make my own decisions instilled a fierce sense of independence and grit that help me at every turn.

From never giving up trying to beat my siblings in every sport and game under the sun, to having the confidence to pursue my career goals, I owe that all to her.

By letting me (oftentimes reluctantly) find my own footing, I was able to launch. I never second-guessed myself when it came to pursuing my MBA at the age of 25 with a hectic travel schedule and a torn ACL. Little did she know that this important lesson would also help me soldier on after I lost her.

I will love my mom always. The void her loss left is hard to articulate, but I'm eternally grateful: she taught me a lifetime of lessons under the humble guise of her just being her tiny yet mighty self.

One of her final lessons was giving me the strength to share these thoughts and reflections with that completely full church of heartbroken people.

So now, whenever I'm nervous or feeling stuck, I know three robust words that will help me summon the strength I need. #TinyYetMighty