It feels like a dramatic title, but I also can’t conjure something up that feels appropriate for a subject that is dramatic for me: My mom passed away eight days ago.
My mom was extremely generous but also a bit of a mystery, keeping the cards life dealt her close to her chest – especially with her struggles. There are a lot of questions about her that I will now have to answer without her assistance. However, I feel compelled to share a tiny bit about these first eight days, and leave space for more reflection later on. I also simply wanted to let others know, because she touched a lot of lives.
It is not lost on me that this is a time of year when my mom’s spirit often shines brightest: Giving gifts, preparing copious amounts of food, and hosting loved ones in her home. This both makes the time of year harder, because I don’t see her carrying out a concentrated number of traditional activities; but, it is also easier, because I can feel her spirit lingering with the season.
I think I’ve been a bit numb so far, avoiding major triggers while noticing the regularity with which I hear her voice or consider her opinion: “Would she like that I used this Christmas mug?” “I want to share this picture of a mundane scene on my walk today.” “Would she try some of the matcha latte from my advent calendar?” “Is it going to bother her that I’m having dinner with a friend instead of at home again?” “She won’t send me any more Starbucks gift cards on a whim.”
It is the impulse to share, or refrain from, something, followed by the empty void where her opinion should be, that is making me realize our dynamic was one characterized by a constant stream of small moments, more than large ones. I will miss this.
However, I have found some peace – or at least, some relative emotional stability – in taking my high valuation of those many small moments, and finding new channels for them. By instead sharing a photo with a friend, or going for a walk with family, or sending a Starbucks gift card to someone I’m spontaneously thinking about – I feel her. And that helps.
A quick couple of notes:
- I would love for you to share positive memories or sentiments about my mom, but please bear your sad thoughts in private and not on this post, as I hope to curate a lighter atmosphere for myself.
- Additionally, to quell immediate questions about what happened, I’ll simply share for now that my mom had an autoimmune condition that caused her liver to fail, and she kept this battle well-managed and very private. I hope that you take a few moments to learn about the myriad of ways our livers impact our overall health and take good care of yours and be a strong advocate for your own health. I recommend www.liver.ca as an initial resource.