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  • Jamaica Aali

My Mom is Dead and Other Reasons to Be Bold and Joyful in 2020

A year ago today, on the last day of summer, I watched my mother take her final breath in a cramped DC apartment. Three days later I celebrated my 35th birthday in New York City. It was a weird week.

September is one of my favorite months because it ushers in the change of seasons. We enjoy warm summer days and crisp fall nights. It is a time of bountiful harvest but also a time of falling leaves—the two are inextricable.

In some ways we have all mourned in this past year. Some lost friends and family to pandemic. Many lost jobs and businesses. Here in California, families lost homes to fire followed by earthquake. Others lost role models and icons. Just days ago we lost Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a legend who shared my grandmother’s name and my mother’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. We all have lost whatever “normal” once looked like to us.


The limited space I hold in my heart for religion is reserved for the belief that death begets life. So, I implore you to harness your grief and this time of reset to claim the bold and joyful life you deserve. Take this time to read and learn about how to become whatever or whoever you want to become.

As my mother once wrote, “Be fully alive while you are in this world [...] Your life is an empty canvas on which you have the authority to paint whatever vibrant, marvelous, glorious portrait of your life you choose”.


Let’s get started. Rest In Peace Mama.



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