Rachael Soetemans

Rachael Soetemans

To have the chance to speak of my Mom is a big deal in itself for me. That being said I think the best way to address the angel that my Mom truly is, is written in a letter directed to her.


I could write about how you stayed at home in the day and worked at night to provide for the three of us, only getting a few hours of sleep at night. I could write where you would take me or what you did for me growing up. I could even write about how we have laughed so hard our stomach hurts because of how much of a dork you are sometimes. I could write about any mediocre, cheesy part of being a mother that makes me so proud to be your daughter. But I'd rather get down to the REAL stuff, the kind of stuff that life hits you with out of absolutely nowhere because this is the stuff that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
I think the most important phase that most describes how bad-ass you are as a mother is just this last year.

It started in Grade 12 when my perfect, simple world was rocked when my best friend who also happened to be my boyfriend left me heartbroken out of absolutely nowhere. It was my first "real" breakup and damn, it was both cruel and brutal. You already know Im not typically the type of girl to let guys get to me but this one was different, my first love. It was was "no mercy" type of breakup and with every text, look in the hallway, or piece of information I found out about it, you were there listening contently with arms open (there's nothing more comforting than a hug from you, by the way). I went into a deep, dark depression and as worried out of your mind you were about me, I wasn't my positive outgoing self anymore and you knew it. The depression continued so bad to the point that my grades suffered because I couldn't get out of bed to get to my classes. Suddenly I, as vice-president of Student Council and the girl with an 87 average, missed a credit and now couldn't graduate because a dumb-witted teacher told me "depression is not a real reason to miss class." Instead of pushing me or flipping out on me, you went to that teacher and defended me. You knew who I was in that time was a good girl hidden beneath a layer of hurt and you played every move right with me.
Corrupt teachers made me believe I was crazy for feeling the way I did. You proved to me I was completely sane. I missed out on being valedictorian and I couldn't graduate so I told myself, "you're worthless." You convinced me I was worth more than gold. When I had an allergic reaction the night of my prom and my face blew up like a balloon, I told myself, "you're ugly." You made me believe I wasn't. I didn't want to live anymore. And you, as the person you are, gave me a reason to.

You, single handedly got me back on track and saved my life. I was finally getting back to who I was with baby steps. Until Dad passed away.

Five days after his birthday, three days before Father's Day, and two weeks before final exams for my final year. He was 54 and happy. You and him were divorced but after 27 years of marriage you knew how much we meant to him and how much he meant to us. It was like a snap of the finger and he was gone. No goodbyes, no warnings, stone cold sudden death. It was the hardest experience our family had ever gone through and it seemed so unfair. I remember you kept saying to us "I wish I could take away your pain" and I knew you would in a heartbeat. On Father's Day, you got balloons and little pieces of paper for us where you made us right messages for him and send them up to heaven. I don't think I ever told you how much that meant to me. The whole experience was a blur and seemed to go so fast. I mean, its a year later and here I am writing about it, geez.
You know how I feel about Dad passing because I've cried to you about it enough and you know all about how I feel about the happenings of the past year (shoutout to our deep conversations on the porch step). What I don't say often enough is thank you.

Thank you for the little stuff. Being both our own personal comedian and our shoulder to cry on, for trying your best to understand my university applications (I know Dad was always better with that kinda stuff), for making ends meet year after year living paycheque to paycheque. Thank you for being our Mom and our best friend.

Thank you for the big stuff, too. Thank you for juggling being there for us when Dad passed and for your parents in Nana's journey with Domensia. Thank you for providing us with nothing but unconditional love and support. Thank you for being two parents in one, I know its hard but you're kicking ass at it.
But most of all thank you for shaping me into the person I am today.
You taught me what the bigger picture in life is, and I live by it. It's not about material things, how many likes you get on your basic Instagram picture, or how many Facebook friends you have that you can party it up with and forget about in 10 years.

Life is about love. Love for other people, love for the world we live in and love for ourselves.
Life is about appreciation. Being thankful for the people or opportunities we are given, for our own bodies, for our country and for this world.

Thank you Mom, for radiating positivity and pure sunshine. Thank you for being the extraordinary person that is Diane Soetemans. xo