?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Reflections

« previous entry | next entry »
Jan. 27th, 2006 | 12:50 am
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

The aftermath of my mom's death has left me with a variety of thoughts and reflections. About life, about her and most importantly about myself.

I think that death of a loved one is one of those experiences that rips you open, that strips away the mask that we all put up of who we're supposed to be and how others are supposed to see us. Mine is a superwoman of sorts, the person who can be the excellent GSI, driven dancesport competitor, helpful dance instructor, loyal friend, etc. all at the same time. She is a person who is totally independent -- who never needs other people, who hates depending on them, who asks for help only on intellectual matters.

At this point, I realize that no matter how strong I am, there is no way to keep up that image, I have to open myself to the outside world and let people take care of me a bit because I need my energy for healing, and for continuing in a daily routine. Because losing my best friend (and my mom and I really were absolutely best friends) is not something that I can shrug off and say "well, that's that" and go on with things. I'm discovering that I like the openness. It is unfamiliar and a bit uncomfortable (and I use uncomfortable here in the sense of something that is pushing boundaries, that is outside of my comfort zone, without the negative connotations that are so often attributed to that word), but not unpleasant to let people in, and to admit and accept imperfection. There is an amazing amount of love in the world; it's nice to be able to really see it and really feel it with the intensity with which it exists. And I am extremely lucky to have the sorts of friends who really do take care of me.

I am glad that I am in Berkeley and pursuing as close to as normal a life as I can. I realized, at lunch with chimerically yesterday that Minnesota hasn't been a home for me for a long time. For the last 5 years, Minnesota has been the place that I went to visit my mother, first and foremost, and extended family second. But nothing of my life is there... and I think that if I were there now, as much as I feel I should be home to be supportive of my family through all of this (and I will be, next weekend and the weekend after), it would make the whole experience infinitely harder. Because being in Minnesota would mean being surrounded by all of the reminders that my mother is, in fact, gone. At least while I am here, I can parse out the sadness and the loneliness in the way that I think about intense friendships that I had when I was young that broke only through time and physical distance. Random things will make me think of people to whom I have been close but with whom I have lost contact and don't really know how to find, and I miss them then. But the pangs are brief, moments of sadness for something wonderful that is no longer present in my life -- but replaced by happiness in the memories of that person. My feelings about my mom are much the same way, but far more intense. Those feelings, I think, may never go away but will soften with time.

I have been surprised at how easy it is to smile and laugh and be sarcastic and make jokes. To talk about science and research and boys and all manner of things that affect my normal, everyday life. I think friends help a lot in this -- it is much easier and more fulfilling to be interested in the goings-on of others than it is to dwell on my own sorrows. (And, from that, to know that friendship is a two-way street, that if and when I want to talk, I have people in my life who genuinely care and want to listen). I wonder to myself if this means I am in denial, that it hasn't hit me that this really happened, that my mother is really gone and not coming back, but searching through my mind and heart doesn't leave that as an honest answer. What I find instead are thoughts of my mom's spirit, her love of life and the way she always looked for (and saw!) the proverbial 'silver lining' to every situation. I think of how she kept living through everything, never stopping to ask 'why me?' 'why is my life so hard?' but instead 'how can I make the best of this?' and ask myself if there is any better way to honor her memory than to emulate that attitude in my own life.

One of my mom's childhood friends told me, when I was 11ish that she would always know me because I had my mother's heart. It's probably the greatest compliment I've ever been given... and I hope I can live up to it.

Link | Leave a comment |

Comments {4}

threadwalker

(no subject)

from: threadwalker
date: Jan. 27th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
Link

*smiles* once again, glad to see you rising to this, being balanced and positive about everything. Gladness.

And that includes being open to help. Not accepting help does build a wall- people want to help when a friend needs it, and to not allow it shuts people out. In my last spell of ick in my life, I only started getting better when I told my friends. I had been too ashamed of my own weakness in getting into such a bad situation to do so before. I think we're similar creatures in more than a few ways.

Gladness for the reflection. Take care.

Reply | Thread

Liz

(no subject)

from: stellae
date: Jan. 28th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC)
Link

"I think we're similar creatures in more than a few ways."

I quite agree... I think one of the greatest lessons learned from my mom is that similarities between people arise from personalities and ways of being and thinking about things. They transcend the details of specific interests/viewpoints, etc. I sometimes wish more people would see this -- I find myself looking for what common ground I have with others, because it helps me to love and appreciate what is different, and the differences have a way of bringing me closer, then. I think it is much to easy to become focused on superficial differences and make judgments about people because of these, and it saddens me to see people do this over and over again, and in doing so, miss out on having really wonderful people and friendships and experiences in their lives.

Also (and unrelated!): Have fun in Tahoe. :-) I tried snowboarding for exactly the same reason when I went with my presently ex-boyfriend earlier this month. 'Twas fun. But head to toe soreness the following day. Hee.

Reply | Parent | Thread

threadwalker

(no subject)

from: threadwalker
date: Jan. 31st, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Link

Much with the soreness, and glad to be geting to know you a bit better :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 29th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
Link

My dearest Liz, I am sorry I am so late in adding my condolences. My mother just called to read me your mother's obituary. I am here for you, thinking of you, and sending you many hugs. --Mina

Reply | Thread