Sunday, January 4, 2015

NOTHING Left Unsaid

I had an emotional time on New Year's Day with my yearly ritual of closing out 2014 and creating 2015. So much to mourn and yet be grateful for that I barely started in on 2015 until the next day, which is so unlike me.

2014 was going along just fine until the end of summer when my family started falling apart. Literally. My Dad needed hip-replacement, my Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, and then my Mom fractured her foot in two places.

Her fall lead to a physical, which lead to heart surgery (5 stents), which had gone well and was leading to a full recovery. That is until a coughing attack while driving lead to a car accident, which lead to her body giving out and dying within the week. So it wasn't so much that it was out of the blue or so sudden but shocking in its own way.

As sad as her death has been it has been peaceful in many ways-- most so in that my Mother and I had nothing left unsaid between us. Not all gushing I should point out. My Mother was not one of those happy-homemaker kind of moms. She was dramatic and narcissistic and difficult... and also funny, creative, smart, and loving.

All these characteristics made it challenging to be her daughter for much of my life. Up until my 30's when I realized she wasn't going to change, she did the best she could, and when we weren't busy fixing each other we could actually have a delightful time together. And part of what brought me to this place was she let me say whatever I had to about our relationship. She didn't necessarily own all her mistakes but she didn't invalidate my experiences and she apologized for not being a great mother... which ironically kinda made her a great mother because most children never get that kind of acknowledgement of the parenting they missed out on.

After her heart surgery she was cranky and being very hard to be around and I told her she needed to choose how she wanted to live out the rest of her life: grateful or bitter. That's the beauty of having worked through your shit you can speak directly to each other. She knew I loved her AND I didn't want to see her flinging her misery at me.

The last thing my Mom wrote before her accident was a thank you note to me
(my sister found it on her table at home being readied to send):

Perfect, right?!

She got to have the last word, go out gracefully and beautifully, and leave me her love and appreciation to hold onto forever.

Please if you are reading this, take this as an opportunity to leave nothing unsaid with the ones you love. Have the difficult conversations, apologize and clean up your messes, lend an open ear if someone needs to clean up theirs, thank people in writing, send love notes. Do whatever you need to do so that no matter what 2015 holds nothing has been left unsaid between you and those you love.

My Mother's last hours were spent peacefully surrounded by my brother, sister and me and she knew she was loved. And even though she wasn't coherent I know she knew she'd done a great job because we were there for her and each other.
All had been said and done so she could truly Rest In Peace.

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