Thanks for welcoming our celebrity blogger — Elisabeth Röhm! The actress, 37, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.
She can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and plans to continue her role as spokesmom for Juno Baby.
In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — remembers her mom and explains why she joined the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement in her memory.
Whenever I meet an amazing woman, pass one by on the street, have a random conversation with one, talk to one of my dear friends or have the pleasure of my Aunt Lolly’s company, the thought always crosses my mind that all of these women are somebody’s daughter — yes, I love that John Mayer song — and if they are lucky, they are also somebody’s mother too.
I am what you might call a ‘girl’s girl’ and I am blessed to have great women surrounding me with their support and power. The greatest woman I have ever known is my own mother, who passed away suddenly last fall. She was and still is my compass, she is my North.
Her passing was unexpected; in fact, we were in the midst of planning a big Christmas family gathering in Los Angeles. Then I got the call. The call you never want to get, especially when you are laughing and playing in the sun-drenched backyard with your 2-year-old. My mother had suffered a severe heart attack and was in a coma in Holland.
I tried to hold it together in my daughter’s presence as my step-father ran through the horror of his experience and the condition of my mother so many miles away. I’ve been trying to hold it together ever since.
My mother was my best friend. A single mom who did everything she could to give me a true depth and love of life, she was a mirror for me and made me accountable. She most certainly helped me to carve out a purpose with her sincerity and vision.
Lisa Loverde-Meyer was what you would call a bonafide ‘hippie chick.’ Not a day went by when I didn’t receive 10 emails from my mother regarding causes that I should rally behind and stand for. My mother expected me to be real and care for others because she was a thinker and she drove me to have a core based in integrity. And she gave me a palpable faith in God.
Needless to say, my compass was shattered and even though I told her on her deathbed that I would be okay — primarily due to her kick-ass parenting — it has been a very painful year. One that I hadn’t anticipated and have felt sorely equipped to handle.
After my mother died, my Heroes costar Jack Coleman said to me, “Those who know, know. And those who don’t, forgive them.” I will always be grateful to him for those words, because most of the time people don’t know what to say to those that are grieving. It has been a lonely year, but I understand.
I don’t really know how to put my experience into words either. What I can say is, thankfully my mother met my daughter and thankfully Easton has been bringing the intoxicating light, laughter and daily reminder of gratitude that only our children can.
As a mother, I have tried not to burden Easton with adult stresses — relationship, financial, etc. You know, the big stuff that keeps us up at night. So, when I’m feeling my loss more profoundly on any given day, I keep it to myself and wait until I have a moment alone or I am with my cherished BFF or one of my aunts so that I can reminisce or simply weep like a baby.
I don’t know if I’m doing Easton a favor by shielding her from what I am going through personally. I’ve thought about that a lot lately because one of the greatest contributions my mother gave me was her truth. She kept it real. Like I said, she was a hippie and a single mom so there was no other way for her. I have been grateful that she told me the truth, demanded the truth from me and was my friend. Not a day went by when we didn’t talk at length and willingly share our secrets.
I long for her.
So, what does one do when you feel lost from loss? In my world, you do what your mother told you to do and find something worth fighting for and turn a painful situation into something meaningful. She’d have had it no other way.
To honor my mother, I’ve made it my mission to help fight heart disease by joining American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. We have to remind each other about the truth of the matter. Our hearts are vulnerable. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Please take care of yourselves and check out the status of your health. Listen to your body. I want all women to make this their mission.
I hope that we can inspire each other to live heart-healthy lifestyles so that we can better recognize the symptoms of heart attack. My mother was overweight and inactive, so her symptoms were hard to detect. Because of my family history with heart disease, I am motivated to take action both for myself and Easton so that she won’t have to endure what I have. We are trying to be as healthy as possible these days.
Please visit GoRedForWomen.org to learn more. There is helpful information available that can improve our lives in sections BetterU and HeartHealthTools. You can also join GoRedForWomen on Facebook. The power of the female community is stronger united. Let’s empower each other to fight heart disease so that we can be here for those we love. My mother wouldn’t have it any other way.
All my love, ladies.
— Elisabeth Röhm