When my father passed suddenly, Mom was left at thirty-four with four little ones, eight and under, to care for. I didn’t know then how difficult that was. How would I? Everything had continued on like before. I had a place to sleep, food on the table, and someone to watch over me. And I loved her dearly.
But then I became an adult, in age only, and things started to change. Her taking care of all of my physical needs suddenly hadn’t been enough. I hadn’t received enough hugs or emotional support. None of us could do anything good enough, so she had done everything for us. She sent me out into the world vulnerable, and I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I started to resent her, and when I did go home to visit, if I was in one of my moods, she irritated me more than anything. So I stayed away and didn’t talk to her on the phone much either.
It may not have been quite as bad as it sounds, but I always felt sorry for her having a daughter like me. One who was like her and didn’t know how to express all those deeper emotions that were bubbling inside. I always felt for some reason that I couldn’t be who I really was until she died.
And now she’s dying. I try to apologize for not being the daughter she might have wanted, but she says she doesn’t remember me being like that. And I see she is not who I remember either. She does have dementia, but it’s more than that. We have both changed and are so fortunate to have this time together to be able to show the love we have for each other. We have both opened up enough to say I love you, and I have been able to care for her physically like she always cared for me. So no, I didn’t come home to help take care of her. I came home for one of the biggest gifts of my life, and am so blessed. Full circle, indeed. I am now a grown up.
I’m sorry it took me so long to find you Mom, and now I have to let you go. My gift to you is to let you go again, only this time with much more love than before. I love you and know you will be so happy in the next life!
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