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stepping back

by Judy
January 23, 2016

It has been seven months since my beloved mom died…it does get easier…and sometimes I am still overcome by her loss. In those moments I just want her back, want to be able to call her up on the telephone, hear her welcoming voice. Those moments are hard. It is really something when you no longer have a mother, father or brother. In that sense you are an orphan and that is something new. I don’t feel alone however…somehow they are always with me in some way.

This blog site is called “When the Table Turns” and initially it was related to when my mother had a massive stroke at the age of 96 and her life radically changed as did mine. I lived with her for three straight years in her Florida home, helped to care for her along with a professional caregiver, Pat, and a number of other caregivers. It was in that sense a “break” in my life - previously I had lived in Massachusetts.

Stepping back now since my mom died seven months ago, I am feeling the table has turned again. Aside from being still in the midst of grieving, I am aware of a change in my self. For one thing I am essentially not worried. That is a big deal since I hail from a long line of worriers. It is almost bred in the Jewish historical conditioning. And by not worried, I don’t mean the superficial kind, but I mean not being deeply concerned about the future, how my life will unfold, where I shall even live now that there has been, for a variety of reasons, a schism in my life in terms of what I had been doing. Fundamentally I am so much more at peace with myself.  It’s an inner peace that comes from not being constantly thinking about the future, about what is next or regretting the past and it comes from being much more deeply in my own skin and bones; being patient and content to be where I am. It’s not judging myself and at the same time being “mindful” - I don’t particularly like that expression but by mindful I mean aware of what I do and consciously at times changing. It's not in a forceful way, but almost as if I am being gently guided by someone or something that is holding my hand and leading me in a more valuable direction. I am being informed by conversations, by what I read, by a voice inside my self…even the voice of my mom who so deeply cared for her family and friends….allowing it all to emerge and instruct me. There is a kind of confidence that is not based on any particular feeling of confidence - it’s a confidence based on not trying to prove myself anymore; based on resting in who I am and that is enough.

And I wonder why that is so. Why did that time with my mom make such a difference to how I am now? Is it somehow related to the fact that for quite an extended time I was so responsible for someone else’s life? I had to make many decisions that directly affected my mom’s well-being and they weren’t always easy. I asked many questions, inquired, but in the end it was up to me to decide. I also witnessed my mom going “gently into that good night” and that also has had an effect. I feel less afraid of that good night and also much more acutely aware of the limited time that I have on this earth.

Perhaps it is some kind of maturing process that sped up by spending time with my mom that was in many ways “out of time,” and by that I mean it was almost like being on retreat, away from the usual influences – writing, reflecting and being so close to death where you know without a shadow of a doubt that in the end it is love and only love that truly matters. It is this simple love that I shared with my mom that is imprinted on my soul. it is a love that is beyond time and space.

That experience is still with me, even now, when I am back up north. It’s like I have fallen into another time zone that is deeply in me and even when I get caught up in this or that for the moment, it doesn’t last.

It is a deepening trust and as I write this now and step back, I am struck and in awe by the mystery of it all…a never ending mystery of how life unfolds and renews itself.



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