My mother died many years ago.. way too young. She adored my older son but never got to see him grow up. My two younger ones never got a real chance to know her. I think they would adored her.
I was living away when she got really sick. She had cancer but never really talked about it a lot and I remember how surprised I was when I saw how bad it was. It is just a word till you saw how cruel it was.
I was there when she died and I remember how she struggled even for her last breath. And I remember feeling glad she wouldn’t hurt anymore but knowing at the same time life was forever changed and something so crucial lost and gone.
My mother died with dignity but I think it was because she never stopped living with it. She made a conscious and intentional decision to end well. She didn’t want anything left undone. She said her good byes. She mended all the fences she could. She made sure she left no thank you unsaid.
My mother’s dying was never really about her death. It was about her living. It was about her life.
I have written about some version of that lesson in much that I have written and I owe the teaching to her. You can’t always control what you have but you have some decision about what it is about, what it means.
I know some very courageous people right now. I marvel at their ability to make the worst of things still about life. I am astounded when I see people take the worst of things and not treat it as the verdict of life but as a question about how to live.
The last couple of weeks have been lousy for me. Linda is struggling really hard right now. We are apart way too much and her pain is torture to me. Helplessness is not a graceful thing for me. The out of the blue execution of Insure Tennessee by the Tennessee General Assembly has left me gasping for breath. I know people who can’t wait. I know people who will be left behind and I simply didn’t know it was possible for me to be this mad.
I ashamed to say I don’t think that much about my mother any more but I have thought a lot tonight about her lessons and living even in the hardest of times.
This time will end because all times end. Nothing is everything and always no matter how much it feels that way. In the end it is about the living you want to be yours even when the life given is not.
It is a time of great sadness for me and perhaps rage is a temporary way to blunt the worst of it. I hear my mother tonight. “It is still about the living…”
And it is. If you are a praying person we could use some prayers. As always your support and encouragement means a lot. If my anger and rage has seemed at times consuming and uncomfortable for you I apologize for that. Thank you for listening.
And thank you for letting me talk about my mother. Maybe in some way she speaks to us all.