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mom smiling down at me

by Judy
February 21, 2016

Four months after my mom died in October, I took the plunge and signed up for a writer’s conference in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I had heard about this conference a few months earlier…it looked very interesting but the thought of traveling by myself to and in Mexico and not knowing anyone, somewhat scared me. I had also been living such a sedentary life in many ways for the last three years of my mother’s life when I helped to care for her. But I took the plunge and it really did feel like a plunge. At the time I wrote in my journal: “I don’t want to go with my fears which are not real most of the time and only means I will live a “small” life - no need to do that yet…I say “yet” because if I live very long, at some point I will need to live a much smaller life but not yet, definitely not yet.”

I was aware at the time and still am since my mom died that I could easily not do certain things just out of fear, but the fear was not really based on reality, but on old habitual ways of being.

So I signed up and a few days ago just came back from the conference which turned out to be more, much more, than I could ever have imagined. It was such a full, stimulating experience on so many levels: partaking of informative and creative workshops every day, listening to writers who spoke with such depth and often humor twice a day, and perhaps most importantly meeting such open, curious and interesting people all the time; in the workshops, at the meal tables and even in town. Yes connecting on such a human level. For one thing it showed me I am not too old to make deep and lasting friendships and also showed me the excitement of stepping out into new “territory” where so much change can happen and new vistas open up.

It really does feel like yet again a table has turned. I know my mom would be happy to see me. I could feel her smiling down at me. Yes, she would be so happy as I met new people as well as going to a new place with beautiful architecture, plants, flowers – that Mexican aesthetic everywhere one looked. My mother loved to travel, to see new places. She traveled in her later years after my father died to Egypt, China, Indonesia, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Vietnam. She loved meeting new people. It seemed to me that as she got older, she actually got more adventurous and more open.

When I made the decision to come down to this writer’s conference - and as I said it was a leap - part of that decision involved feeling my mother’s push. She was not afraid to try new things and often “jumped” first and then others followed. For example, at not a young age, she started going to Chatauqua Institution in New York State. This was at the time and still is like an adult summer camp where there are lectures on all different topics, courses in the arts, music, dance etc. She started going early on before many of her peers came and she totally loved it; immersing herself in the lectures and the arts where she started to sculpt in clay.

With my mom in mind, I could feel her push then to leap and not dwell on the past. She definitely did not want me to suffer after she died. I can never follow in her footsteps – they are her steps alone – and yet in my own way I feel more and more her spirit of adventure instilled in me and know that she would love to see me getting “out there,” meeting new people, learning new skills in the writing realm and seeing new sights.

In her own way, my mother was daring and lived her life by looking forward; not backwards. It was a very admirable quality and one that took guts and heart.

Of course I still mourn the loss of my mom and probably will forever more, but her courageous example is instilled in me – more than I would have realized – and for that I am also forever  grateful. 

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