This past Fall I traveled to Torun, Poland to speak at a conference. I was nervous to take this trip because my grandmother had been ill for the previous few months and things were certainly up and down. Things looked so grim at times that I cancelled much of my late Summer and Fall travel so I could be there for my family if needed. It was a hard time for sure. With the support of my family, I decided to take this trip to Poland. I remember praying and praying that everything would be ok, I soon found out it wasn’t. Shortly after landing, my wife called me and let me know my grandmother had taken a fall and was not doing well. From this point on the trip got tough. I had scheduled lectures in Sweden and Poland and began to consider canceling everything. I talked to family members throughout this time and, with their encouragement, I decided to stay through the last lecture then head home immedia tely, canceling my plans to attend the last conference in Poland after my lectures were completed. Sadly, that was not enough.

I changed my flight plans to leave the morning after my work was done as early as I could, arriving at the Bydgoszcz Airport about an hour before it opened. This is a very small airport in the middle of nowhere. I was sitting in the lobby of this airport feeling more alone than I had ever felt in my life. There was literally no one in sight, no shops open, no movement in the building what so ever. I remember looking at a vending machine and I couldn’t even tell what the labels said due to them being in Polish. Then my life changed. My older brother called me and let me know my Grandmother had just passed. I have never felt so alone. I was disappointed because I was not able to make it back in time and I was so alone.

During the next few hours, as I travel ed all the way back to home in Texas, I just sat and thought about the love my family has given me, starting with my grandmother, then my own mother and others. I realized that so many women, and mothers, had loved me and took effort to ensure I could pursue my dreams. While there have certainly been men along the way that have touched me, I am truly the result of the love of women. On this day, Mother’s Day 2013, I want to say thank you. I live my life aware of your sacrifice and carry your lessons in everything I do.

I hope you all enjoy this day with the the special women in your lives and, for those of you that are mothers, I hope you enjoy your children today.



Elliott Connie