My mother died last week.
She broke her hip in January so she had been in pain for a month but her death was not a tragedy.
She was 90-years-old, she lived a rewarding life and she died at home surrounded by her family.
She loved her husband and he loved her in return as did her five daughters and two sons.
Two of the girls had shuffled their lives to be with her so she could stay at home and I had just flown over to help four days before she died.
That’s why I was irritated when she went.
I came to give my sisters a break but I was really looking forward to spending a good chunk of my three-week visit alone with my mum.
I’d been over for short visits over the years but somehow, we hadn’t managed much one-on-one time.
Anyway, when my mother announced she had to move on and said her final good-byes I felt cheated.
Actually… she said her final good-byes several times and when she didn’t go she appeared to betruly disappointed.
I had mentioned the night before that I thought it might be interesting to see what comes next but I wasn’t expecting her to embrace that idea with so much enthusiasm.
Maybe that was selfish of me, but don’t worry, I’ve got over it.
My mother’s death was not about me. I have always had a good relationship with her.
The same, however, cannot be said aboutmy brother and sisters… especially the one who the rest of us now look up to as one of the most capable people we have ever known.
When my mother’s house started falling apart, Meri organised the move to a more affordable home and took over her financial affairs; and when mum broke her hip, Meri sorted out her care and rehabilitation.
And she did it without having to be asked and without any complaints.
Until a few days ago, I felt sorry for her and struggled to understand how she managed to get so much done and keep going.
I’ve got over that one too.
Meri and mum had issues. I think they always did but theyintensified when sheand her daughter moved in with my parents after her first marriage went wrong.
Anyway, to cut what could be a very long story short, my sister felt she had a lot to prove to both my mother and herself and during the past six months that is exactly what she did.
She now believes she is capable of pretty much anything and she had my mother’s undying respect even as her body died.
So now, instead of feeling sorry for my sister, I’m glad I played a minor role in mum’s final act and I feel happy Meri embraced the opportunity the drama presented for her to grow.
I wonder ifmumdid that on purpose.
Maybe that’s the way it works. Maybe problems, set-backs and even deaths carry with them opportunities for some people to grow and for others to stay out of the way… and the fact that we don’t always see them doesn’t mean they are not there.
The other peace of good news, according, to my mother, is that dying isn’tjust an ending, it’s alsothe beginning of something new.