Moms and Daughters

My mom died yesterday. It wasn’t completely unexpected. She’s had health issues for a long time, in and out of the hospital frequently. She fell a few weeks ago at home, arrested in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and never regained consciousness. So, I’ve had weeks to “process” and “prepare.”

Mom and I weren’t close. We didn’t really talk a lot and there was usually a lot of tension when we did. There wasn’t really any one big thing that caused the tension. It was more about different life choices and perspectives. My sister admitted yesterday that she was upset that mom and I never “mended our relationship,” and I was surprised. I didn’t see our relationship as something that needed mending. I know some adult women who are very close with their mothers, and I hope my Girl will stay close to me, but that just wasn’t the case for mom and me. And that was okay.

Driving my sister home from the hospital yesterday, I realized I hadn’t cried yet; so, I said, “I know you think I’m cold–”

“I’m starting to think that’s the way to be,” she interrupted.

“But – I was going to say – I’m not,” I finished.

Everyone grieves differently. My sister cries easily in front of others; a healthy habit I’ve never mastered. My brother, on the other hand, gets even quieter than normal and will respond to direct questions but otherwise doesn’t really engage. I turn into a do-er: trying to cover all the bases and do everything that needs to be done in record time with as little free-brain time as possible. So, I spent most of the time that the three of us were together yesterday trying to figure out what we needed to do “next.”

It wasn’t until I got home last night and sat on the couch surrounded by Bryan and the kids that I cried quietly. Tears of sadness for my mom mixed with tears of joy that I am loved and blessed. Then, we turned on Modern Family, laughing freely at it and our own family jokes.

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