Just a few days later, my sister and I spoke at her funeral, words that I still believe and am committed to honoring today.
We spoke of the honor and blessing that it was to be her daughter and the wonderful lessons she taught us: to work hard, to enjoy the hell out of life, to laugh much (at ourselves as well) and to not take life too seriously.
We spoke of all the things we’d miss about her … her presence, so lively and fun … her foibles like over packing for everything and indecisiveness … the wonderful times we had together … the great conversations, great meals and great fun we shared … her amazing spirit and how she cared for everyone in her life.
We said that we could spend a long time being very angry at the injustice of it all, or we could choose to be grateful for all the wonderful time we had together.
So we made the commitment to be grateful and resolved to do some things that honor and preserve her memory: read my kids bedtime stories and raise them well, work hard for the company she loved, buy myself some nice clothes now and then, continue to travel, explore and experience, ignore our housework and have fun … and perhaps most importantly, take care of each other and love our family and friends fiercely!
And so, 365 days later, I think I can say I’m a better person than I was this day last year.
I can’t ever see mom’s death as anything but a bone deep, cutting loss. I still think of her every day and it still hurts. I still hate to go anywhere near her office. And I still have terrible moments when I re-realize that she is gone and it’s almost overwhelming to bear.
But I can see that I have allowed some positive things to come from it. I’m a better, more patient mom than I was a year ago. I am a bit less concerned about the long term “good” of the kids and more interested in making sure they feel my unconditional love right now. I have gained perspective in my life. While I work damn hard for the company we both love, I will not allow it to interfere with what’s really important – the relationships in my life. I have been able to loosen up on some of my control freak ways and live in the moment a bit more. Our family, including my dad and sister, are closer than ever and we take great care of each other and really really appreciate each other … And MAN have we read the bedtime stories!
I will always wish I had more time with her. But I take huge comfort in the fact that not much of the time we had was wasted. We did, we saw, we lived it up … we loved. If not quantity, we got QUALITY, and I know how incredibly blessed that makes us.