“While I celebrate my mother, Helen, every day, this year is especially poignant,” said Nancy Gale.
This year the celebration of Helen has a different tone and a deeper significance. This year is the first Mother’s Day in seven years that Nancy has had closure. The man who murdered Helen in 2011 was finally brought to justice and sent to prison.
This closure was in large part due to Nancy’s resilience, a powerful gift she learned from her mother. As of the winter of 2018, the murderer had not been caught, the case was not getting the resources it needed, it was dormant. Through Nancy’s relentless tenacity along with a formidable support system, the investigation was revived and after seven long years, justice was served. She had to do this for her mother so that the focus could return to Helen’s triumphant life, not her tragic death.
Helen has always been Nancy’s hero, her champion, her biggest fan and the teacher who taught her the most significant life lessons. The theme through every chapter, encounter, challenge and situation was always the importance of resilience. Helen was a model of living life to the fullest, greeting each day with enthusiasm and not letting anything stop her from moving forward.
“One of the things I learned from my mother,” said Nancy, “was that resilience is not something one is born with; it is a choice. There were so many times my mother could have stopped and given up, but she never did. She chose to live a life of persistence and resilience.”
Helen’s will was tried in the most difficult of situations. She fought for her life when Nancy was a teenager, spending a great deal of those years in the hospital. In and out of consciousness and 13 surgeries later, her doctors credited Helen’s strong desire to live as the driving force behind her unexpected and inspired recovery.
Without skipping a beat, Helen immersed herself in her work with the Cultural Arts Center. Working with the city’s youth soothed her soul, while a robust social life ignited her passions. At once, she would give 100% to her family, her friends and her career. “The woman who would let nothing stop her showed me that I, too, could accomplish anything I set my mind to.”
During their numerous mother-daughter travel adventures, Nancy’s insights and appreciation of her mother deepened as she experienced her in a new light. The wisdom of her lessons are embedded in Nancy’s core. “Failure,” Helen would say, “is nothing to be ashamed of, but an opportunity for improvement. Believing in yourself and pushing through challenge and negativity is paramount to achieving your dreams. Never let the doubters take you off your course.”
In celebration of her hero, Nancy aspires to live a life of resiliency, a life of purpose, a life of joy, compassion and laughter. “I look at my mother as a spirit who was always embracing life – and that is what I want to stand for. With the closure of her case, things are starting to mend. As I think about everything that has happened, I reflect on conversations we had about how none of us really know what we are capable of doing when it seems that everything in our life is falling apart and that having perspective at those time is so important. Those words are forever in my mind and have helped me manage through the pain. For the man that took her life, in honor of my mom’s quest for forgiveness and in the spirit of resilience, I wish for your family to heal and for you to find a way to redemption.”