I have lived the past five years without my mother in the physical-her-voice-over-the-phone-physical way. The night I received the phone call that my mother passed away, I crumbled to my knees. Mom was my closest friend. There was NO WAY this could be! Today, the reality of it is still absurd.
Every event in my life, whether small OR significant…every milestone is a reminder. Grief never leaves, but ‘softens on the edges’. For those of my readers who have not yet suffered loss, we ‘don’t get over it’ ever! In timely fashion, CBC radio produced an amazing program on the subject early this week? end of last week. Just a sec. I’ll go find the link.
When my grandson was born, I got a bit of a sucker punch in the gut, some time after the elation and after I drove home from hospital for some much-needed sleep. Hot tears hit my pillow because in my mind the most heaven-filled experience of my lifetime has been the birth of Steven, so what might that have meant to my mother? I hurt a lot with the inability to share this precious boy with my mother.
So, there are always going to be those moments.
What can I do, moving forward? Well, one of the gifts that my mother gave me in moving into the everlasting is that she gave me the relationship I now have with my Dad. Let’s face it, Moms and daughters can talk A LOT. As women they become well-bonded through their experiences and their enjoyment in conversation. Since Mom gave me my friendship with my father, I am so grateful. I love that man so much! We have persisted with our 5:00 pm Skype conversations that began to happen daily when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, although clearly, our timing is a bit more flexible. My Dad and I talk about absolutely EVERYTHING and this wasn’t always the case. I thank Mom for this. I’m very grateful. Moving forward, I can continue to honour my experiences with my Dad.
What else? Honestly, I am very concerned with the growing incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. It is a hideous disease and it is also very cruel to families and caregivers. While not the only debilitating disease that is slamming the world population, it deliberately robs individuals of talents, abilities and knowing.
As various forms of dementia wreak havoc on aging populations (and this is a bit of a stereotype), we need to explore a number of aspects…health care, supports for caregivers, a more generous perception of personal support workers (paid BETTER and valued for their important work), and financial support for the sake of clinical research.
Finally, I am interested in spiritual connection. My mother really valued her relationship with her Saviour. During my nature walk this morning I was thinking about how human beings are plugged into their devices, around the clock. My Mom would want people to unplug from those and to plug in to real-time conversations instead. She would want us to plug in to experiences and to explore the inner workings of our hearts and minds, no matter our leaning or our ceremony or our practice. As I contemplate this, I will take time today to consider my spirit and tend to it.
Let us be gentle with ourselves on our personal journeys of grief. Time moves on, even though we fight against it. Today, on the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, I am going to spend time in the garden. I’m taking my dog walking into beautiful landscapes. I’m going to try to live an honourable life. I am going to remember the times of laughter shared with a beautiful woman, my Mom.