Losing your mother changes your life in many ways. I lost my own mother twenty-five years ago today. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, wishing she was still here. She barely got to know two of my sons and never did meet the third. With my sons all grown up and four sweet grandchildren of my own now I wish she could share the joy they all bring to our lives.
My mom died just after reaching her 65th birthday; I was 34. Suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer, she died within 3 months. Consequently, she literally wasted away before our eyes. We never had time to get used to the idea of life without her. She didn’t even have enough time to rally from the shock of the diagnosis to begin to fight for her life. Losing your mother leaves you shell-shocked for a long time afterward.
My father had just retired and she planned to do the same. She so deserved that. She worked from the tender age of fourteen with only a brief hiatus to bear six children in eight years. Not that raising six kids in eight years was a hiatus, but she went back to work outside of the home shortly after. Years of work and raising children were finally in the rearview mirror. She looked forward to a more carefree life.
With six children and 13 grandchildren (at the time) spread out over Canada and USA, my mother looked forward to visiting with them all often. She was the travel planner and organizer; my dad was more of the stay-at-home type. In fact, after her death, my father rarely traveled more than a few kilometers from his home. He was heartbroken, literally.
My mother’s untimely death changed my life in many ways. Concerned that my own life expectancy may only be 65, I reduced my work hours and the accompanying stress level by changing departments. The goal was to concentrate on the important things in life. To me, these included spending more quality time with my three young sons (I had a third not long after she died) and my husband. Volunteering at the boys’ schools, on field trips, and for their sports teams became my focus. I do not want to feel that I should have spent more time with them when I am older.
When my boys were grown up and independent twelve years later, I once again began searching for more out of life. I made another drastic change and retired (very early) completely from hospital work to start my own gardening business.
Losing your mother makes you introspective, comparing your mothering style to hers. Not just your mothering style really, but all your mistakes and regrets. Your hopes, dreams, and triumphs too. It’s like a wake-up call to improve the quality of your own life. During her last three months, my mother and I spent many hours discussing such things.
As my grandchildren grow up, I try to spend as much time with them as I can as well. I hope to be around to witness their milestones, something my mom missed out on.