On Sunday, December 11th, just over a week ago, my Mom passed away. Nearing her 75th birthday, she passed peacefully in her sleep. I started to write the below the next day and then ended up reading it at her memorial service. While it’s still hard to grasp that I won’t talk with her again, I’m coming to terms and getting to a place of acceptance. I’m sharing this today to honour my mom.
Mom often told the story of taking me to school on the first day of classes to find out that they didn’t let kids stay at school for lunch. We had moved and she didn’t realize what their policy was. She was on her way to work and probably panicked hearing that. But when she felt a tap on her leg and looked down to see me trying to get her to take my lunch bag she knew that I would be completely embarrassed by having it, but not knowing and took it from me. I don’t know what ended up happening that day in terms of me being supervised over lunch, but I do know that she did what she could to save me from embarrassment.
When I was 10 years old I was invited to a birthday party for one of my best friends. When I arrived, gift in hand, her mother answered the door and told me there were too many people there so I couldn’t come in. I left in tears and went home. My mom was there and comforted me. She said “how about we go see Superman today instead.” We had a great day and she made me feel like my friend was the one that missed out. She was my buddy that day.
When I was in junior high I got in trouble for getting into a paint fight with some others in art class. The principal set up a meeting with mom. I had always told my mom that the principal didn’t like me and my mom listened. When I asked her to wear her work suit for the meeting, she did. Mom stood up for me that day when the principal had said I acted like I was smarter than other people because my vocabulary was advanced. Mom told her I was a reader. She told her I wasn’t stuck up the way she implied, that I was actually very shy. She held her own against a woman that thrived on scaring people. She was my advocate.
I became pregnant at 21 and I spent every evening with my parents, laying on their bed watching tv with them. Completely oblivious if they needed time alone. Feeling completely welcomed. They supported me, guided me and loved me. They were my support system.
After I had my daughter mom and Paul were there to babysit, to take over when I was incapable. They protected my daughter from me during days that I was so heavily involved in my alcoholism. Mom was my co-parent.
When I was 32 I quit drinking. My mom told me she always knew I would get it. She had never lost faith in me. She stood by me through it all, supporting, loving. Showing me an example of unconditional love that I’ve rarely witnessed. Talking to me about her own experience with alcohol. Teaching me how to have fun sober. She was my sobriety coach.
Over the past 16 years of my sobriety my mom has been there by my side. Sometimes marveling at how wise I am, with me reminding her she taught me everything I know. She was there for the heartaches, the celebrations, the crisis, all of it. She’s talked me through tough times in my job, told me I wasn’t crazy when that was exactly how I felt. She told me when I was overreacting, told me when I scared her, didn’t hold punches when that was what I needed. Through her example mom showed me a fierceness and strength mixed with unbounded love. She showed me the various sides that exist in all of us and made it ok for me to embrace all parts of myself. She was my rock.
We talked a lot about spirituality over the years. She described her belief in what she referred to as the fishnet. How we are all connected energetically and that what we add to the net really matters. We talked about politics, about diversity, racism, our big crazy family and how grateful we were for it. We talked about our bodies failing us and how it didn’t feel fair all the time. We talked about our fears. We talked about my own spiritual crisis of late and she was guiding me through that right up to the last time we spoke. She was my best friend.
I’m incredibly grateful that this woman was my friend and mother. I’m grateful that there was nothing left unsaid between us. I’m grateful that I decided to spend as much time with her as I could when she was diagnosed with heart disease 4 years ago. Even though the pain is unbearable at times, I’m so grateful for the memories I have of this most fascinating and incredible woman that I called mom.