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Living La Vida LoLo

Happy Mother's Day Mom

Lois Burak - Saturday, May 13, 2017

Six months, and three major holidays have passed since my mother’s sudden death. Each one a bit of a personal milestone. When my mother first received her cancer diagnosis and her prognosis I was definitely not prepared to lose her - She passed away on November 18, 2016.

Through these last eight years I had to depend on my mother; something I was not continually aware of, in our mother daughter dynamic.  When I invited her to live with me, the reasons weren’t all selfless - I needed her. In 2008 a ten year relationship ended... one that in her infinite wisdom  typically consisted of negative predictions that would inevitably come to an end.

It was a humbling time. Emotions dealing with her cancer diagnosis quickly overshadowed my feelings of embarrassment and shame from the loss of my relationship. I focused on making a home for her and keeping her alive. As much as we fought, I knew that in my heart I was not ready for her to leave me.

Are we ever ready for this?

I thought I had come to terms with her impending death - there was an obvious decline over the last eight years. One that I tended to blame on her lack of will rather than the result of the cancer and COPD attacking her body.

The evening before she finally left me, she was discussing having fried turkey for Thanksgiving and making coffee. In my mind her death was not imminent by any stretch of the imagination.
Like most in my situation, I thought I had more time. I took her presence in my life for granted, often spending my time fighting to resolve issues that had plagued my daily life with struggles that impeded me from providing for her.  Upon her death, I prayed for inner peace - that  I would be in a positive place. I did not want her to carry the burden of worry about the dark future ahead. My mother worried so much throughout her life that she had a permanent furrow between her eyebrows.

As she lay in the hospital bed, after her final breath,  I repeated several times “No more worry mom, no more worry.” I rubbed my fingers across her forehead. “No more furrowed brow, no more worry.”

As much as I rationalize death to cope with the inevitable and to accept the absence of those I love, I was surprised by the affect her death had on me. It’s a physical push-pull that comes from the gut. A force greater than I could ever describe that hits with a force that takes your wind. Falling forward, a rush to my throat, resulting in an outpour of tears and physical exhaustion.

My mother tested me. It is now my belief that much of the negativity she projected onto me came from her own need to protect herself from disappointment. I on the other hand am someone who sees potential and possibility in every situation. That was where we were different.

I think her survival meant having low expectations, for that’s easier than being let down. I truly believe this was a byproduct of her lack of self-worth. She fought fiercely for her independence, it was something she did all of her life. My mother solicited negative reactions from me in an effort to test my love for her and to protect herself from being disappointed.

Yesterday I received some potentially good news. For a split second I found myself excited to get home and tell her, shortly thereafter the realization hit…

I have one word for every mother daughter. SHARE

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