My Mom died two years ago this month and so much has rearranged itself since then; memories to process and lessons to apply. I continue to learn to live without her and to integrate the mother I knew with the totality of her. I continue to manage the moments of stark emptiness, my cells unable to feel her life pulse any longer. I continue to live, embodying both mother and daughter now within my own bones.
In remembering, I share a portion of the eulogy I wrote for her memorial service. There is a wisdom that still speaks that perhaps will resonate with you as you remember your loved ones.
One of my mom’s quotes, which I heard many times, was from Jungian analyst Marion Woodman who said, “You are going to go through this whether you like it or not. You can either do it squealing like a pig going to slaughter, or you can walk with as much dignity as you can muster.” Well, my mom walked through many a challenging time in her life working to grow in wisdom and consciousness. She could certainly do some squealing, but despite how complicated things got, she took them on, especially over the last couple of years. Her courage in the face of what looked impossible was amazing to witness. Even when the odds looked bleak, she continued to rise to the challenge. She gave us a model for resilience that we will be drawing on for years to come.
In her papers she wrote a small phrase that strikes me, “so many feelings”. I understand that sentiment - the joy, the anger, the guilt, the fear and anxiety, the sadness, the frustration, the questioning, the resenting, the surrendering, the hurting, the loving, the longing, the disappointment and the gratitude. And I am left with one more resounding lesson - modeled by my mother and reinforced every single day by my father as he continues to live with such courage, love and integrity…no matter what life throws at you, no matter how many times you fall down…keep getting up. There is meaning in the struggle. We are never done growing. And, perhaps most importantly, underneath everything there is a constant, infinite, neverending current of love which expresses in and through our relationships - to God, to ourselves and to one another. My mom was blessed by the love in this family and community. And we have been blessed by the love that she gave to us.
And I would like to close with the prayer my dad said at many of our family meals - Thank you, God, for all that you have given us…especially the love we share. Amen.