On Wednesday, I attended the funeral of the mother of one of my dear friends and colleague. Her mother was 96 years old. My friend and her three siblings had been providing round the clock care for their ailing mother for the past two years so that she could remain in her own home. The service was small, simple, and beautiful. My friend’s eulogy of her mother resonated loudly with me.
In my short life, I have experienced loss to a degree that some do not. From these situations in my life, I have come to believe that no matter what happens, God has a lesson for us to learn from it. That good triumphs, prevails, and can grow from all that is bad, wrong, difficult, and painful. And through my friend’s loss, I learned yet another important lesson to take with me in my life.
Those who spoke, a son-in-law, my friend the daughter, and the pastor, all spoke of the legacy this woman has left behind to those in that room. She loved her family. She loved God. And she did both with fervor and passion. The mere fact that these four siblings- with their own jobs, children, lives, stresses- cared for their mother so relentlessly, so devoted, so deeply, shows the love that this woman passed to her children.
It made me reflect upon myself. Not so much the legacy I will leave for my son. But more how I could better honor my own mother. So that when her time comes, she feels truly proud of the person I have become, the values I am passing to my children, and the care and love I show her to the end. My mother is definitely proud of all of her children, and she is never shy to tell us so. But I know I can do better by her.
She has always been the moral compass for our family, definitely for me. While I may not have always agreed with her reasons and rules, I understand their importance and the love that guided them. I have to say, I will most likely end up giving the same reasons and rules to my own child! Is she perfect? Who is? But she is not too far off. I have spent times in my life resenting the guilt I feel for how she might feel about choices I make. While I truly believe mothers are supposed to make us feel guilty at times, a lot of this perception is exactly that, a perception. We create this guilt because we know we are not living up to what our mothers know we can be – and have taught us to be. We do this because we know that we have been taught better, should know better, should do better.
So while my friend is grieving for the loss of her moral compass, her family matriarch, her friend, her life-long caretaker, I am thankful for the lesson her mother’s death has taught me. She has given me pause to reflect on my life and want to improve areas that need work and continue to improve the areas that have been worked on. All to honor my own mother.
By doing this, I know I will begin the legacy I will leave for my own children. Loving, honoring, respecting, adoring, and appreciating one of the greatest gifts from God – my mother.