Surveying the devastation wreaked on Long Island's shores after hurricane Sandy.

Surveying the devastation wreaked on Long Island’s shores after hurricane Sandy.

It has been two and a half years since Hurricane Sandy took my mother’s house and all its belongings away from her. All that she had left was an empty piece of beachfront property and lots of memories.

Today was a bittersweet day for my mother. She decided to take the buyout that was offered to her from New York rising and closed on her property. As sad as it was to say good-bye to the piece of land she once called home, she is ready to move forward and begin her next chapter of life…debt-free!

As Maid Brigade celebrates empowering women this month, I am reminded of the obstacles that my mother has faced these past few years. I watched her continue to live life through all the turmoil, getting up every day and going to work, shopping at thrift stores for work clothes, and standing on lines to get food and blankets. She had to leave her town and move in with my sister until she was able to rent a home closer to her original one. My mother just kept on going, she really had no choice.

What my mother didn’t realize was that she became an inspiration to our family. She has motivated us all to do better in life, to not take advantage of people, and to always give back. I can honestly say I remember every single person who helped my mother get through the first few months after the storm. Whether it was just a smile, a cup of coffee, a meal, some clothing and blankets, or even a toothbrush and toothpaste, their support meant the world to her. That support worked wonders for the healing process she had to endure.

Today we all move forward onto a new journey, one we call “me time.” My mother has finally retired and is eager to get back some of her “me time” she had lost for the past two and a half years. My family couldn’t be more proud of our mother and the journey she is about to embark on. I haven’t seen her smile this much in years.

I want to dedicate my first blog of this month’s “empowering women” to my mother. In her worst time, she has continued to show success – professionally, financially, and personally. She has empowered the people around her and continues to do so. As hard as her struggles were, she kept fighting and never gave up. She has become an inspiration to my children and I couldn’t be more proud.