“There’s healing in advocacy” (and other things mom said)

1. “There’s healing in advocacy.”
Aaron, my mom, and I (Kari) at her graduation in 2015. She graduated at 60 years old with her Bachelor’s in Integrated Studies with an Emphasis on Elder Studies and Gerontology. She advocated for the elderly after my grandpa had been a victim of financial exploitation and elder abuse.

“There’s healing in advocacy.” I say this one all the time now and try to credit my mom. Love her for it. Sometimes healing just feels impossible – I think we all know that feeling. There might not be a clear outlet for healing, there’s no going back to a time before needing to heal, and we might not be able to spot a point on the horizon where things magically just fix or cure themselves.

But you know what can help us right this minute? Advocacy and allyship. Those two words encompass a lot. Whether that’s a call to your friend who needs one, spearheading a community-wide meal attracting 500+ people to feed and clothe the homeless (something mom actually did for several years), or working to become an ally to others. There’s just a lot of healing to be had in advocacy, action, and community togetherness. On the outside it can look selfless, but there are a lot of selfish reasons to simply love and support each other in actionable ways too.

I’m afraid this classic quote from my mom is the reason I won’t stop talking about all the (now-heavy) life things I find a passion for. I can’t fix or change what has happened to my loved ones, but I’ll sure as hell try to help spread awareness and create a better world for those struggling. Why? Because I selfishly find healing along the way, too.

2. “Don’t super soul for everyone else. Super soul for you.
Out first Nature Church hike with Sloan soon after she left the NICU: mom was thrilled to have her out in nature and cried harder than the day Sloan was born. Also, mom never cried so this was a big deal. (Ha!)

Aaron and I loved Super Soul Sunday. (Cred goes to our beautiful friend Austin for getting us hooked on that, because it’s a real winner.) We listened to it so much that we turned Super Soul into an actual verb. Like – do you have an asshole colleague? Super Soul ‘Em. Want to share some good fortune? Super Soul, bitch.

Basically the term “Super Soul” was an easy way for us to describe when we felt like it was time to step up for someone else, be the best version of ourselves, or rise above a tough situation.

Not long after Sloan’s birth, Aaron was forced to navigate boundary-setting and tough conversations with family. He was frustrated, tired, and disappointed in the lack of support. I felt all of it so intensely with him. So – of course – cue mom. I was ranting to her about how he shouldn’t have to pander to others when he was the one that needed people to step up for him. He just needed love and support – or space. Combine that ranting with a lack of sleep and I was a really fun, sensible, reasonable time. (LOL poor mom.)

Then my mom paused and said “…what if it’s time to Super Soul?”

My response? I told her no thank you, I’d rather be a a self-centered dickbag instead. (I can’t always promise maturity, okay?!) Then she paused and said “Kari. Super Soul is about you letting go and living your own truth. It’s not meant for anyone else.”

Today I still hold on to that advice: even in the most difficult moments. Because, to my mom’s point, when things get the most difficult or trying: that’s when you really need to get your Super Soul on.

…And, reminder, Super Soul for YOU. It’s not meant for anyone else.

3. “Space can be important for long-lasting relationships.”
My mom hugging Kassie before she left to work at DisneyWorld in 2016.

I miss mom because she was such a realist in allowing relationships to have space, silence, and time. She allowed relationships to naturally ebb and flow without added pressure or overthinking. I’ve never seen anyone else do that as casually and confidently as my mom did. I aspire to that level of confidence.

Mom was always a proponent of taking space and time when relationship dynamics weren’t serving anyone. She would frequently tell me and Kassie to take some space when we were riling each other up. And, hilariously, she would be the first to tell Aaron that he needed to take some space from me (helloooooo, her own daughter!) when she felt like we were getting on each other’s nerves.

Ultimately, my mom was a big fan of space in relationships because it only served to do good things. When a relationship has some much-needed space and connects again, it means there will be more to talk about and more to love.

Honestly, what a way to self-care. She was a pro at boundaries and space. I love that about her.

4. “Bless them in their spot…and move on.

Aaron and my mom playing video games on Christmas.

Along with creating space: mom was really good at setting long-term boundaries in relationships if they needed to be set.

She didn’t say “bless them” in a condescending “bless your heart, honey” way – she genuinely meant you can still love someone and hope the best for them without having them in your life. Especially when that relationship serves to exhaust you and harm your mental health.

As you grow, relationships become more cherished while also more complicated. It’s difficult to watch as friendships grow apart, but that’s just simply a part of life. And when relationships became weird/toxic/unfair/negative – mom would cut the shit and respond with “it’s time to bless them in their spot and move on.” (I can just hear her voice saying that as I type that. Visualizing her sitting in front of me with tea, her phone, and a biscotti. I miss it.)

Funny how mom was always right.

…Damn it, mom.

Also, beyond mom’s list of wise words, here are a few words mom never cared to pronounce correctly. It was Aaron’s favorite – he always gave her shit for it.

(Worth noting: if me or Kassie tried to also give her shit, she would get mad at us. But Aaron always started it.)


(Should be: Chick-fil-aeyyy)


(Should be: Chi-po-l-te)


(PERSONAL FAVE. Should be: John Boehner. Not even kidding – this wasn’t on purpose. Just an honest mistake.)


(Should be: La Hoi-ya but she pronounced the J every time.)


(Should be: expedition. She loved the roominess and easy access to Sloan in our expedition.)


(Should be: coast-ah vee-dah.)


(Should be: vegan)

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