It is an incredible honor for WiO this week as we get to feature, our beloved Kara’s late mother...
Connie Hermes was born April 22, the oldest of 5 siblings and a native Jersey Girl. She was a successful career woman, devoted wife and mother of three beautiful children, Alex, Jason and Kara. Kara describes her mother as a very funny woman who loved people. She was a truly kind soul, full of heart and known for her selflessness. According to Kara, nothing made her mom happier than a good conversation, the Jersey shore and a good read. “When my mom walked in a room, everyone was caught but her incredibly huge and positive presence. Everyone wanted to be around her as she had a way of connecting and making people feel comfortable. Many called her an angel.”
Connie balanced a successful career while having three children under the age of six.“We were all very close with her and she made such a strong effort to have a unique relationship with all of us. Sometimes, I would wake up and she would name the day, “Honor Kara Day,” and the whole day was in honor of all the things I loved. She did that for all of us. It made us feel so special and we never knew when it was coming.” Kara explains that everyone would ask her mom, "how she had everything all together?" Her mom would always reply, "You do what you can and you complete one thing at a time. If you feel like you are having a hectic day, just go make your bed, and things will fall into place.” Kara, knows she would give that same advice to any WiO mom today.
Nothing showed her mother’s character more, Kara explains, than when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of being afraid of death, Connie found out what it truly meant to live. She became an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. She never wanted people to see her down or even to know that she was sick. Kara remembers her mom opening up her closet after months of keeping her diagnosis a secret and saying, “There is too much black in here, I am never wearing black again only color.” From that point on, Connie fell in love with travel and travelled all around the world, completely on her own. She made incredible friends who opened their doors to her, and friends that still reach out to the family to this day. Even when she was in the hospital, she found a way to bring light to her situation. “The medicine that she was being given daily had to be injected into her wrist. So, one day my mother decided, that it was her body and it was time to take some control of it back. So, she went out and got a tattoo of a rainbow and a star that hugged her injection point. She just made a dire situation into something happy to look at. She was truly admirable, and to this day, I think it is so cool to say my mom has a tattoo.”
Connie Hermes lost her fight with breast cancer on November 17, 2001, and her beautiful soul still lives in all the hearts that knew her. In 2008, Kara raised $5,000 and walked the Philadelphia Susan G. Komen 60 Miles in 3 Days Breast Cancer walk, and describes it as one of the most amazing experiences she has ever had and one she is most of proud of. “I did it on my own and throughout the journey I met the most incredible and inspiring women and heard so many powerful stories. I walked and held up my sign that said, “For my Mother.” Kara feels her mom’s presence still all around her. “There is a love of dragonflies in my family and I could be having a bad day and all of a sudden, I’ll see a dragonfly on someone’s scarf or a little girl’s barrette, and I know it’s mom telling me, things are going to get better, and they always do.”
As the years go by and Kara runs into people that knew her mom, they always tell her, she looks exactly like her mother. Kara, says that is the biggest compliment she could ever receive. “When she passed, I made a promise to her that I would try and be more like her. If I could talk to her now, I’d ask if I was keeping my promise.” Kara, as any WiO can contest, you have kept your promise.
In loving memory, of Connie Hermes, a female powerhouse who lit up the lives of all who surrounded her and lived life to the fullest.