Today is the second anniversary of my mother’s death. It is not a day of mourning so much as a day of reflection.
CELEBRATING A LIFE
I miss my mother every day. She wasn’t the greatest mother in her child rearing years; yet, over time, she learned how to love and respect herself and give in ways that have nurtured me and my siblings tenderly in our adulthood. She is an example of someone who lived long enough to get it right.
WE ALWAYS HAVE EACH OTHER
I have had my ups and downs with my parents and my siblings. There have been times when I was closer to one sibling than another and other times when some of us just could not stand others of us.
When I was going into surgery about fifteen years ago, I conjured an image of my parents and siblings standing in a circle around me on the operating table, holding hands. They told me nothing could harm me while they were there to protect me. Since that time, I summon them when I feel helpless or afraid. I know they watch over me as I watch over them.
Politics, significant others, personal values, personality differences, crossed boundaries, and various times of being there for each other have caused this family unit to move and shift like an amoeba. I understand that we can argue, shun, share, embrace, protect, despise, inspire, and love each other but nothing will break the bond between us. It is just there, and it transcends time and space.
Both of my parents are now dead, yet I am as bonded to them as ever. My parents used to say that the best thing they ever did was give us each other. We are never alone, in life or death. We always have each other.
SURPRISE! LESS LIKE MOM, MORE LIKE DAD
I realize that while I look like my mother, I become more like my father every day. I laugh because he was my least favorite person for much of my adulthood. I can’t make nasty comments about him any more because I inherited many of my favorite traits from him.
I recognize that my intuitions, insights, and introversion come from him. My ability to lead and inspire comes from him. Dad was a minister. Now I have found my calling in a sort of ministry. Neither of us has any use for “institutional” anything. We think our own thoughts. We seek beyond our reach. We fall down, but we get up again.
HEALTH AND WORK
Both my parents were athletes until chronic disease made them inactive. I puzzle over why they did not live longer. They should have been centenarians. It may be genetics, but I believe it is stress. They were both bundles of unresolved issues and the inner stress that goes with carrying anger, blame, abandonment, fear, regret, and denial. Through my own physical challenges during and after my years as caregiver, I have learned that stress kills.
I hope I have learned to manage stress better than my parents did. It is hard work. We all have stress, but we have a choice about how we handle it. In my younger years I struggled to do more. Now, I struggle to do less.
The last time I spoke with Mom she told me she had a good, full life and was content. Can any of us hope for more than that? I hope I manage my old age with my mother’s grace. We can only try. May we all Rest In Peace in this life and the next.