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Terrence Howard

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In Memory of Anita Williams, Mom

Posted: 05/07/10 07:53 PM ET

When I'm asked what I remember most about my mother--I always find that my answer stays the same. She cared about people from the bottom of her heart and always put others first. Her selflessness was at the core of who she was. She was the kindest person I've ever met, with a genuine concern and regard for the well being of others.

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she didn't tell me or the rest of our family and friends. She played down her condition so as not to worry us, but in turn, we found out at a point in which there was nothing we could do for her. It was terminal and we were left helpless, hopeless and completely devastated at what was ahead--our future without her as she was being robbed from us by this thief of a disease. She was the cornerstone of our family, the person who meant the most to all of us, and soon she would no longer be there guiding and championing us as our lives unfolded. I wasn't sure how I was going to live in the world after she was gone. I was guilt-ridden over not having been able to do something more, over not having been able to save my mother.

Seeing my mother die, experiencing the stages of cancer that drained her of life, made me come face to face with my own mortality. And so I knew I needed to continue experiencing life for everything that it was and finding its beauty in my own children. My mother believed every day should be seized and life was provided to us to be lived to its fullest. She loved being able to say, "I did that," or "I've been there." She was never shy in experiencing new things.

As time passed after my mother's death, I realized the best way to honor her life was to live my life the way my mother had raised me. My mother taught me to live in search of what's true, to make others feel good about themselves, to be silly and serious when appropriate, to smile as much as possible, and have a clean conscience. I had to live my own life to its fullest, even if she was not longer in this world.

My mother was a part of every aspect of my life, and she was the person I most revered in this world. I miss her every day, but know she is with me in everything that I do. This mother's day, I hope we all take a moment to pause and reflect on how much our mothers mean to us and show them our appreciation in the best way we know how. As for me, Mother's Day is now bittersweet as I reflect on life when my mother was here and think of the man I've become because of her. Thank you mom--I miss you.

One out of every three women is affected by cancer. Today we stand up in memory of all those moms we've lost, and all those moms who are in the fight against this vicious disease. Launch a star in memory of someone you love at su2c.org.