Inspirations: Sonja Daly

Carpe diem is a phrase I learned when I was very young. I didn’t really understand it then, but sometimes things happen and everything just falls into perspective.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since my mother passed away, and I’ve discovered just how much she inspired me to be who I am. She always said to look out for others, because you don’t know how bad of a day they might be having and they might need it. This was instilled in me by my mother from a young age, and it’s a compassion I try to bring with me every day.

I remember wanting to go to a friend’s birthday party, but not having enough money to get there so grudgingly saying that I’d give it a miss. My mother, who was on disability allowance, produced a €20 note and told me to go enjoy it. When I was eating dinner a few days later, my mother was eating toast. It then made sense; she’d given me the money she had intended on buying food with just so I could go out.

My mother was always conscious of those struggling around her, even when she was at her most unwell. Her ability to face all her troubles and still have that beautiful smile on her face taught me to be thankful of what I have and to keep positive, even in a dire situation. The kind of selflessness that she possessed is something that I strive to someday be able to emulate in some capacity, because that woman would have given a stranger the clothes on her back just so things were a little bit easier for them. Selflessness is inspiring because it’s putting yourself on the line for someone else for no reason other than to make their day a bit better. It’s something I never would have learned without my mother.

Like many young adults, self-confidence wasn’t my strong point. I remember people I didn’t really know coming up to me after my mother’s funeral and regurgitating my life story to me and ending it with: “ah, your mammy was so proud of you.” Things like that inspired me to push for what I wanted to do in life, because I know that regardless of what it was, she’d be proud that I was making myself happy. Three years later, I’m 22 and currently back in first year of the course I should have been in from the start. Without her, I wouldn’t have pushed to be where I am today. So yes, seize the day and be good to others, because in doing so, you are inspiring people everyday.

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