Embracing My Mom’s
My mom passed away three weeks ago at the age of 83. Though she had been in declining health, she was still very active, even having gone swimming the day before she died and to synagogue that very morning. Her quick, unexpected departure took us all by surprise.
Losing a parent is a deep pain. Even if it is “expected,” one can never fully prepare. The loss is overwhelming and life-changing. It is too soon for me to capture the many thoughts and experiences I’ve had over this intensely sad and, at times, (surprisingly) beautiful life passage. And I know there is a bumpy road ahead which I have yet to travel. I can, however, unequivocally speak to three aspects of my own path that have helped me navigate my mom’s passing thus far with relative grace.
The first was being at peace with my relationship with my mother. This wasn’t mere luck; it was intentional work on my part. My mom was awesome but like all relationships, ours wasn’t perfect. For many years, I harbored frustration and regret that we didn’t have more depth in our relationship. About a decade ago, I began to work earnestly and intentionally on three aspects of our relationship: to accept my mom for exactly who she was as a mom, to accept myself for exactly who I am as a daughter, and to accept who we were a as a mother-daughter unit. The process was gradual and entailed forgiveness, lovingkindness, and a sincere appreciation that she and I did the best we could with who we were/are.
While I spent years on the meditation cushion and in conversation with my teachers and close friends working on our relationship, not one of those moments required my mom to participate or converse. The place of peace in which I ultimately arrived was beautiful and provided me many years of a fulfilling, wonderful relationship. The gratitude I have for arriving at this place is insurmountable and has made my mourning process absent of conflict or regret.