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I will miss you

by Judy
October 27,2014

There is something that I haven’t written about before because in some ways it’s the most raw. It’s when my mom will burst out in tears and say she will miss me and doesn’t want to leave me. Usually when she says that, I manage to distance myself emotionally. But tonight after I put on very impassioned music – Andreas Botticelli singing romantic Italian music - Mom burst out crying and when she could speak said, “I will miss you.”  I told her I would miss her too. Then I lay next to her in bed until she fell asleep. I was left with tears running down my face. It’s such a human feeling…cuts right to the core really. As I lay there I thought of my brother who died now over twenty-five years ago, and I still miss him. That will never go away. Nothing can ever change that. Perhaps it’s the great equalizer – that ache of missing - call it love or attachment or call it being human and living a human life. I don’t think anyone can avoid it if they live long enough.

Later as my Mom slept peacefully and this passionate Italian music continued playing in only the way Italians can do it, I noticed as I stayed with these feelings and kept listening to this most exquisite music, something began to change. Yes, joy started to come through…burst through the clouds and a smile crossed my face. The words came through me, “Oh, my god, it’s so beautiful that one can’t help feeling close to the infinite!” And then I felt this overwhelming gratitude for being alive where life is one big saying hello and good-bye literally, metaphorically, now and forever.

Later that evening at around 8:30 my mom was surprisingly awake. She forgot about our earlier interaction but since she was awake I wanted to take advantage of our time together. I started telling her about myself – about things I was doing - and then we started to sing songs together. I asked her to sing a song on her own and reminded her of some she might know. We also sang together - patriotic songs of George M Cohan, songs from Broadway shows, Americana songs like  “You are my Sunshine,” and “I Got the Whole World in my Hands,”  A simple, but precious moment in time.

A few days later I was talking with Pat, my mom’s caregiver, and she told me that her granddaughter, Deandra, had gotten worried when her mom was late in coming home. In that worried state, she had taken a photo of herself with her mother and written on the back, “I miss my mommy at the age of seven, Deandra” It felt like some kind of synchronicity.

Missing your mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, lover…the list is endless. I don’t think we ever totally get over loss…or forget. Those who are gone live with us - sometimes it is painful…sometimes not. Sometimes we can even experience joy. Flashes of memories come back at unexpected moments and take us by surprise. Over time many details fade, but there remains a general memory/feeling of those who have departed. Like with my brother, I have that sense of kidding around with him, of us laughing together – it’s a warm feeling. The overall feeling/memory of him remains and his spirit lives on – becomes part of who I am. In the example of my brother, I also remember how much courage and spirit he had in the face of a devastating disease. That leaves an imprint in one’s heart and soul.

Most of us survive loss – we survive as we are fundamentally a resilient and adaptive species – and if we are lucky we also strengthen and mature and in spite of our loss and maybe even because of our loss we move towards life, communion and renewal.

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