Even though my mom left this world in 2010, moms never really die. She’s still with me, in an even better way. Death freed her from suffering. Her passing also freed me, from the tough parts of our relationship. Now, I enjoy her at her best.
When I was younger, I didn’t realize our bond would keep growing. If I knew this, I would’ve worried less and had more fun with her. Instead, I always felt anxious and guilty.
She lived alone in her Chinatown apartment with a cat. What if she fell and no one was there to help? What if she got hit by a truck? How would I go on if she died?
At least, that’s how I saw her story. She actually had a home attendant, church friends nearby and a doorman in the lobby of her building. If she was in trouble, someone would be there.
Still, I chose to freak out.
These questions haunted me until my shrink offered a new perspective.
“You can keep worrying about your mother, which is like killing her over and over,” my therapist said. “Or, you can let her die once — and enjoy her company while she’s alive.”
The last thing I wanted to do was kill my mom. So I changed my attitude. We ate out more and did more activities, like shopping. After I also became a mom, we found such pleasure in hanging out with our baby girl.
My mother and I walked this earth together for 53 years. She passed on at age 92. Of course, blogged about her death because it was one of the most important spiritual experiences of my life. When physical death finally took my mom, she was sick and frail and ready to go. There was no trace of the ever-alert, manipulative diva who used guilt to control me.
As she lay dying, we told her we loved her, that she was beautiful. My daughter and I held her hands until her last breath. Since moms never really die, she’s still here, every day, all the time.
The older I get, the more I appreciate my mom’s journey. You know my blog post about 3 things that a fun mom never does to her adult child? Well, my mom was rarely a fun mommy. She actually made life quite difficult for me. But she didn’t mean to. She did her best.
My mom raised two girls and cared for a husband. She learned English and worked full-time as a scientist. In her younger days, she survived the bloody horror of World War II; I’m sure she had post-traumatic stress disorder, which would explain why she was so paranoid and needy.
Today, though, she’s in a peaceful place. I am keeping her in safe space within me.
To embrace my mom with compassion feels really, really good. I can laugh now about annoying and weird things she said and did. Instead of pain, there’s understanding. We’re a team now. She’s very much my muse.
If you’d like to share a thought or memory about your mom, or about being a mother or nurturer, please do comment. Happy Mother’s Day! xo