On Saturday, March 29, a rainy and wind-stricken morning, I stood by as I watched eight pallbearers carry my mother Mary’s casket to 6 feet above her final resting place.
Eighty of my mom’s closest family and friends stood around me, crying and trying to comprehend how a 54-year-old woman’s life was brought to an end.
Maybe her passing hasn’t hit me yet or maybe I’d just mentally prepared myself too well, because I’m not torn up about it. Is it wrong that I didn’t shed a tear on the day of her burial?
I loved my mom dearly and even though she’s gone, I don’t feel a predominant loss. In a way, I feel closer to her, and I know our relationship will grow in the years to come. Our mother-daughter relationship has the promise of future.
A month after my mom’s passing, a wide range of emotions have finally shattered my numbness. Some filled with despair, fear, anger, to the more lighthearted: bittersweet acceptance, nostalgia, heartache. Every day, I’m prone to relive memories with nothing more than a harmless trigger.
This past week, I received a letter from one of my mom’s cousins who got a chance to visit her a few weeks before she passed away. The letter was very personal and cathartic to read, and it allowed me to shed any guilt I had.
Toward the end of my mom’s life, it was very hard to communicate with her. While I could spill my heart out to her, she was either unconscious or too incoherent to respond.
But the thankfulness I feel cannot be expressed. In the letter, my cousin wrote that over these past six trying months, my mom was never disappointed in me. She was worried and did everything in her power to understand something she never faced. Apparently, during the visit, my mom spoke highly of me, my writing, and she knows I’m going to go far in life.
My mom had a spirit that is irreplaceable and completely unique. Mary wasn’t afraid to live life to the fullest and always taught me something in the process.
There’s a quote by Ray Bradbury that reads: “If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
This is how Mary lived her life every single day. She was able to roll with life’s punches on a daily basis.
After she got married, the doctors advised my mom not to have any children, since they would be a detriment to her health. The doctors should have known my mom wouldn’t abide by that rule.
Why miss out on milestones just to have mediocre health and a laundry list of regrets? Sure, maybe my birth wasn’t beneficial for her long-term health, but she told me numerous times I was her reason for fighting.