|Mom and Dad circa 1978|
Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101 wrote a really beautiful post about facing her mother's medical issue whose procedure ended in the best of all possible ways- her mother's cancer scare was only that- and her mother is sure to enjoy many more years of good health. Very tender and lovely to realize the depth of feeling between mother and daughter and the good will that exists. In moments like this, you find yourself reflecting on your own life. My mother passed away unexpectedly at the age of 79. There were no good byes, no lingering moments. I did make every effort to tell always my mother how much I loved her and I know she loved me in return. But, she was not an easy mother. She didn't thrive on nurturing us. Not her thing. She loved us, she was proud of all of her five children, but I don't remember a lot of tenderness. As her unforeseen demise took her from us by surprise, we were all in a state of shock. Our focus became our father and keeping him going after her death. They were a devoted couple, and we were terrified that he would follow her shortly to the great beyond. As my mother died when my eldest was 6 weeks old, she never saw my children as winsome toddlers, or attended a recital, or took them out to lunch, much less regale her grandchildren with stories of her own life. So, a loss all around. (Although, in retrospect she had an amazing death in that the moment she sat in her favorite chair, with a novel and a cup of tea at 1 in the morning because she couldn't sleep, she had no idea in the middle of turning the page that that was the last mystery novel she was ever going to read. A really remarkable way to go.) There are many things I never got to share with my witty, brilliant and complicated mother. They weren't all good- as we all experience things imperfectly growing up- and in that way I am far from unique. Do I miss my mother? Frequently. Do I talk to her in my head and wish she were still here? Absolutely. I'm not sure if I am lucky or not that I didn't have to watch my mother suffer, wither, lose her ability to captain her own ship, much less watch my mother watch my father suffer (he also dropped dead bringing in the groceries at the age of 96- he managed to survive her for 10 years but suffered from the infirmities and pain of the elderly.) So, for all of you grown sons and daughters who have parents who continue to thrive and with whom you feel a connection of love, respect and affection, I am happy for you. More than you'll ever know.