Published July 13. 2012 4:00AM Updated July 13. 2012 3:29PM
I don't know if you have noticed, but I haven't been around these parts in...jeez...six weeks? Is that right? It has been a combination of things, least of which is summer mode (which means we are playing and partying hard and bedtime is later and later) and most of which is this other big thing--my mom passed away.
I told you about my mom last year, but that wasn't THAT long ago. And while I kind of always knew she was "dying", I just never thought it would be such a quick and serious decline. It caught us all a little off guard. She went from her status quo, to dying, to gone in a matter of days.
One of the "benefits" (for a serious lack of a better word) of a loved one dying from a terminal illness, and dementia in particular, is that in a sense you have already lost the person before they have passed. This means, for me at least, that I went through a majority of the grief process prior to her actually passing, which seems to have lessened the blow of the whole thing.
I have also learned a LOT in the past two and half weeks. I have learned that children truly do make everything better. Despite some of the hardest days I have ever had, coming home to my two kiddos felt like I had a weight lifted off of me. My feelings of love for my children helped minimize the sadness. They somehow always said and did the right things, behaved just a little bit better, and gave me nothing but love.
I have learned that I shouldn't take for granted that my children know I love them. I plan to make it a personal goal to always tell my children I love them, love watching them do the things they do, love being with them, and love that they are mine. It is so important that they actually hear those words.
I have learned that love and support can come from the most unexpected places. It is two and a half weeks later, I am still receiving cards every day from people I never would have thought would send me cards. I have learned how good a simple sympathy card can make someone feel.
I have learned that true friends are a gift. I have also learned that I have more true friends than I knew. My friends have absolutely gone above and beyond anything I ever could have hoped. They have shown me how to be a better friend myself.
I have learned that, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I can make good come out of my mother's death. I have used her passing as a vehicle to reconnect with people I haven't spoken to in years. I have missed them and there is happiness in knowing they are back in my life.
I have learned that each day is a blessing that I have been given. I need to make the most of it. It sounds cliche and grandiose, but it is true.
If you have made it this far, do me a favor? Go hug your kiddos, you mom, your dad, your husband, your wife, whomever...just tell the people who are important in your life that they are special and that you love them.