In loving memory

390559_3716953964504_1922773106_nJanuary 26, 2015 — I once read that when a mother dies it can set a daughter free.

Strange words. I didn’t understand what the author meant when I read the article all those years ago, and now that my mother has passed away, I’m even less sure.

To be fair, I don’t remember the rest of the article clearly. It may have had something to do a mother’s criticism and a daughter trying to be perfect, but those words seem insensitive, so there has to be something more to it than that.

Perhaps I don’t get it because my mother didn’t criticize much. On occasion, she would tell me I looked tired, or that I looked like the last rose of summer, which wasn’t a compliment since the last rose of summer, the one that hung around through all the heat and humidity, looks withered and parched. Being of Irish heritage, she was also fond of saying “You are big and ugly enough to do it yourself,” whenever she thought I should handle something on my own. That sounds like criticism, but I never took it that way, and laughed it off.

I’ve never tried to act as if I were perfect for her either, but if you asked any of her nine grandchildren, they would tell you she was perfect, and she thought they were perfect, too. They could do no wrong in her eyes, and my father was fond of saying that if there was such a thing as reincarnation, he wanted to come back as one of her grandchildren.

All of us are still coming to terms about what happened. And that experience will continue for a while. The past few months were spent visiting her in the hospital, in a rehabilitation facility, in the hospital again, and finally in hospice. That’s enough to throw anyone off kilter.

Strangely, there is a positive side. I visited her daily in these places, and got to spend a lot of time with her. That wouldn’t have happened if she had been at home; I would have phoned her a few times a week, and visited on the weekends, but I would have lived by the excuse that my life was too busy and too complicated to visit so often.

We said our final goodbye at the cemetery this morning, and now life can return to a normal routine. I return to work tomorrow, I can get back to a set blogging schedule, and maybe even go to the movies. Still, the experience has changed me, and I can’t help but feel my normal routine will become nothing more than a distraction. For the time being, anyway.

Thank you Mom for all that you did for me. Your passing did not free me, but it made me realize how lucky I was to be your daughter.

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12 thoughts on “In loving memory

  1. Wonderful blog. I too have changed since my Mom is gone. It is something that cannot be explained. I am here for you if you need to talk. XO miss you!

  2. Jane, what a beautiful, touching tribute to your Mom. I think of you often (and enjoy your movie reviews), but had no idea that this painful chapter was unfolding. Hopefully, in the next life your Mom has her bucket of quarters for the casino and a Phillies cap. Be well.

  3. Oh Janey! I was so touched by this! I totally agree with you – I can’t IMAGINE anyone feeling that way – perhaps it’s because we both adored our Mom’s so much (and because we were blessed to have AMAZING special Mothers).

    Today was my first day back to work and on my way home I called the house – as I have every day for years. How sad not to have her answer the phone! I realize that there will be lots of new “normals” over the next few months. My heart is breaking for both of us! But I’m grateful that we each got special time with them. What no one tells you is that no matter how much time you get to “say your peace” – it’s never enough. I remember my Momma telling me after my Grandma had passed that she’d give EVERYTHING she owned for just 5 more minutes with her Mom…now I know what she meant. xxoo

    • Dina, I know what she meant too. We are just beginning this journey, and while we will never get over it, we will learn to live with it. I know that sounds impossible right now, but I believe it.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss, but so blessed by your tribute to your mom. What wonderful memories you have and as time goes on, they will become even more precious. Your mom was and would continue to be proud of the talented woman you have become and she’d be so pleased with this tribute. I continue to uphold you, your dad and rest of the family in my prayers.

  5. I reread your tribute to your mom again today, and once again, I wished that I had gotten to meet her in person. I suppose if your mother were one of those critical ones you would want to be free in the sense of being rid of her. However, this was not the case with your mom. Instead, she invested in you as her daughter and gave you wings to soar above the clouds to become all that you were meant to be. She completed her task well, and now you are free to fly.

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