Loosing a parent raises such a mixture of emotions. There is a deep sense of so many things unsaid and undone. You want to pick up the phone, hear their voice, and ask urgent questions. Images are frozen in time. A moment - a picture - a word - the last things you said, they said - and then the flood of memories come. We cannot prepare for it. We cannot predict our reaction to it. And we cannot predict the influences that may come.
I will always remember my 30th birthday - one moment. I was working alone in my editing studio. I can still feel and see exactly where I was standing - what I was doing. A sudden realization swept over me and I fell to the floor in tears. Just weeks after her 30th birthday, my mother died. What if these were my last days? What had I done with my life? Was I even half the woman she had been?
I remember her through a child's eyes but in that moment, I imagined the woman she was and tried to put myself in her place. For the first time I imagined her through adult eyes. I imagined her pain and her struggles. I recalled the stories told about her and the memories I held. I felt humbled. I felt deep responsibility. Still I struggled to find my peace.
At such an early age, the loss of my mother meant that others provided mothering in the way they could. I had both Grandmother's, especially Grandma Power who was just up the road. Aunt Elaine and Aunt Ruth were also nearby and took special time with me. Loosing Aunt Elaine in my late teens was devastating, then Grandma Perry, Grandma Power, then Aunt Ruth. Moments in my life, I thought such loss prepared me for the next. It does not. If there is or ever has been an attachment of any form, we will feel a sense of things unsaid and undone. Always there are things unsaid and undone.
The best we can do is carry on in the spirit we feel they would urge. I believe we can still tell them what we need to tell them. I believe we can listen for their voices and their spirit will speak to us. I believe we can do, with those remaining, what we know they would urge us to do.
In the recent passing of my father my brother Mike shared treasured memories. At the end he said, "Dad’s lifelong sense of adventure will live on within me, and I will
make every attempt to pass along his legacy to the next generation.
The best we can do is honor those who have contributed to our lives, treasure the memories and pass along the best of what they have taught us. Honor them and honor those living still. I believe Dad and all my mother's who have passed would tell me this.
We will grieve and it will impact our lives in unexpected ways. But we need to take those moments in and let them propel us toward honoring them and honoring one another.