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What a difference a year makes - #2
2009: I had an elderly but still spunky and relatively healthy mom. I called her as often as we were both comfortable with. We discussed the family, the weather and my work (or sometimes the lack of it).
It was a comfortable relationship - at last. We'd had our share of being too close for comfort and complete estrangement. Neither of those extremes ever felt right. It turned out that we did our best mothering and daughtering from a distance, interspersed with some pleasant visits across the miles.
The highlight of 2009 was in August when I got to join the family at Mom's 90th birthday party. It was uplifting to celebrate her life and reminisce. That experience seemed to put a lot of "Mom and Me" into perspective.
2010: In March, I lost my mom. I had the chance to say goodbye (but mercifully not knowing at the time that it really was goodbye) a couple weeks before she passed away. She was not the type to complain about her health but I could tell she was not doing well. I got to put on my brave voice from my end of the phone and she got to put on hers from her end. I know in my heart that she decided it was time to die - and she did. Yes, she did.
What 2010 has brought me, though, instead of grief, is renewal. I realize that Mom was ready to go and while I miss those phone conversations, I am left with memories that sustain that relationship within me and always will.
Mom's passing created an opportunity for me to reconnect (or connect for the first time) with family I'd never had the chance to spend time with. I am enjoying newly forged relationships with my sisters, my brother, my nieces and nephews. In the span of a few days spent with them as we laid Mom to rest, this whole new sense of family sprang forth within me. Then and now my family is a source of connection to Mom and to my past - and a bridge to my future. I've developed a new and deeper understanding of the things that are really important in a family - and made some true friends of these remarkable people.
From loss I have found more than I ever imagined.