Thursday, April 06, 2006

Loss & Healing

I've changed the title of this post several times now, despite not having written a word. I like this one. As some of you may know, today is the third anniversary of my Mom's death. It's hard to believe that it's only been 3 years. It feels like a lot longer than that. Yet, I still remember what it felt like when she hugged me. Or they way that she would playfully smack me on the cheek. It's hard to describe, but she would do these rapid little smacks at the rate of about 10 per second.

I think the last time I saw her alive was Christmas day 2002. I flew back to Vermont that evening because I had to work at Barnes & Noble the next day. I'm glad that my last memories of her were happy ones. On that Christmas, she had a 13 month old grandson, and she had her family there with her. There were plenty of smiles and love going around. On that day, everything about the future looked perfect.

Since that day, I've lost my Mom and my Grandma. One of my cousins has been diagnosed with breast cancer. One of my aunts had a stroke and almost died because of heart problems. My sister-in-law has had ongoing battles with a neurological problem in her leg. Life has been tough.

But also since that day, I've gotten engaged to the most wonderful woman. I've gotten into grad school and have started taking steps down the long path toward a Ph.D. I've learned to ski. I've gone skydiving. I've worked to deepen friendships that matter very much to me. Life has been very good.

So here I am, getting close to turning 30 and looking back on three years without my Mom. I wish I had some grand insights into the nature of life and what it all means, but I don't. I have learned more about how to identify the relationships that really matter and how to cherish each and every one of those. But I've never had any sudden enlightening moment. Each day that goes by is just that: another day. On the one hand, it means one less day that I have left to live, but it also means one more day of knowledge, experience, memories, and (hopefully) wisdom gained. That's the trade-off. I can't say that my Mom's death hurts any less now than it did three years ago. But it is easier to deal with that pain. I guess that's what healing is all about.

So, if you're reading this, here's my advice. Go find a loved one and give them a hug. Unfortunately, I won't see Brianne until tomorrow, so I'll just have to settle for giving that hug to the cat curled up on my lap.

Thanks, Mom, for 26 and a half happy years.


At 10:45 AM, Blogger Christina said...

I completely understand your pain and how you have come to embrace the value of relationships with dear friends and family. I miss my dad every day, but am happy that my last visit with him during Thanksgiving was a memorable time. {{Virtual Hugs}}


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