Friday marked one year since my Mom passed away. The week was harder than I truly expected. I had already planned on taking the day for reflection and time for me. But the loss is just as sharp as if it was happening now.
My Mom was an amazing woman. She was so outgoing and had such a zest for life. She was always ready to go on an adventure and never met anyone she couldn't talk to. Her smile was so open and friendly, people just naturally gravitated to her. She looked for the humor in all things.
She had a hard time when she had to move from the home she had known for over 30 years and never quite reconciled to living with my aunt. I am still going thru boxes from her room. She didn't get rid of much. It was as if, by having everything around her, she still had some independence. I think that's what upset her the most, not having that freedom to do as she pleased. While she was not a prisoner, she seemed to feel that living in someone else's home made her less in some way.
Watching her give up her independence a little at a time as she got sicker and weaker hurt so much. I was guilty of trying to do too much many times until I realized that I was denying her the right to make her own decisions. I wanted to take away that necessity of thinking and planning and all that goes with a serious illness so she could concentrate on getting better. I overstepped my bounds often, I think. It was done with love and I think she knew that but having been so independent, especially since my Father's death, she was unused to not having control.
Mom was a caregiver. She was the oldest of 10 children and she was expected to take care of the younger ones when my grandparents were busy with the farm or gone to the store. At 10 years old, she was taking care of babies. The last 2 were born after she married, but by then, she had me to take care of.
As she got older, she became the one who stepped in when someone was sick. She and her sisters took care of Grandpa and Granny as they aged. She was there when my aunt passed away from cancer, helping her brother and nephews. She was there when my uncle passed away from cancer, helping her sister, niece and nephew. She visited my uncle in the nursing home weekly and took water, tissues, etc. She also bought clothes and did laundry when he needed it. He is having trouble with his memory now and occasionally will ask my aunt Katheryn how Mrs. Broyles is doing. He always called Mom, Mrs. Broyles. My aunt will remind him that she passed away and he will say something like yes, I remember.
I was prepared for a really bad day on Friday since the 2 weeks before had been rough. I found myself reliving the journey from news of the tumor to the final hours daily. However, by Friday, I felt a peace and a calmness I wasn't expecting. I had good memories rolling around in my head and my heart was full of love. I think this is Mom's legacy to me; to allow the pain to run its course and then to be filled with love.
Mom, I miss you every day.