What I have learned is that one death can transform your life. For most people, especially me, the death of my mother seems to have affected me the most. It has been life altering. An emotional rollercoaster that currently effects every decision I make. Every day I get up and wonder about my motivation and drive. Where have they gone? Why are the not as present?
I have gone to at least 5 funerals just this year including my mother. Countless other friends’ relatives have died. I have enjoyed the memories of loved ones who have died and despised the religious tones of some services. I enjoyed the celebrations of life, the reunion of families and friends, the pictures of past and present, and even the music selections. I hugged friends and family and caught up on their lives.
It doesn’t matter that my relationship with my mother was difficult up until the last 2 years of her life. She was haunted by the disease of dementia and had been extremely mean and cruel to me. So when she finally got to the stage of life that I could have a great relationship with her she could no longer communicate. She became happy go lucky and excited to see me. We enjoyed long drives and dining in restaurants while her physical body got weaker and weaker. I would put her walker into my car like a stroller. The circle of life was becoming complete for her. I prepared for her death.
It was no surprise when she died.
It was a long day with a difficult death process until she finally took her last breath. I was there when she took her last breath. I was strong at her funeral. We as a family made tough decisions. I braided her last braid of her long grey hair, put lipstick on her, and spent one last special moment before she got put into her casket. The memorial service was beautiful and her beloved grandchildren sang beautiful songs to lay her to rest. I didn’t predict that this moment was life altering.
My whole meaning of who I was, my extreme overachieving personality just became uprooted.
The grief effect snuck up on me with slyness. I wasn’t expecting to be affected because her death was expected. It started with days of not being able to get out of bed. This was unusual for me. I very rarely feel depression. My 12 to 14 hour days of working stopped as I felt like I had no direction or motivation. I honestly didn’t know what to work on next. What to sink my teeth into.
Slowly, a new person is emerging.
I ask myself …”What does Linda want?”
Even my bucket list has changed and I have found I want to spend more time at home and not travel as much. I have a new sense of mortality and am not living for anyone else but me. I am the new matriarch and am trying to guide my adult children into great lives.
I had heard from others how significant a mother’s death was. What a milestone this life event was. I truly thought I would make it through this moment without any effect because her illness was long and her death was no surprise. My friends would say they could never forget their mother who passed and they thought about her every day. Little did I know this would be a life altering event for me in more ways than one.
Once my connection was gone, I have felt free to relax more and not be as driven. In some ways the pressure is off but the reality is the pressure wasn’t on from her. Just my perception of pressure that carried into my adult life from childhood. I know she was proud of me. Now the pressure is on me to perform for nobody but me. I will have to quiet or silence the inner voice of her expectations and know I am enough. I have nobody to please now but me.
My mother was a very strong woman. She took care of her family and worked in a very male dominated era. A time when women were not promoted or worse yet, fired, because the man with a wife and children was considered to have a family. The single woman with children somehow didn’t need the income. I am definitely more appreciative and grateful to my hard working mother. It must have been a very tough struggle.
Am I grateful for the personal growth and perspective? Yes. Do I wish I could visit with her again? Every day.
Miss you always.