Last year I lost my mom. It’s undoubtedly the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever gone through. She was a wonderful person and I miss her every single day. If you’ve lost someone very close to you, you get it. She taught me the most important lessons in life, and she taught me an enormously important lesson in her death.
When I think of her and cry, it’s all about me. When I think of her and smile, it’s all about her.
You see, my mom went out just about as close to perfectly as she could have asked. At 91½ she was independent and never feared running out of money. She lived comfortably in her own home until her last breath. She never had to bury a child or grandchild. She was mentally sharp until just a week before she passed and was taken fairly quickly rather than lingering in pain. And finally, she was surrounded by family who loved her when the time came.
No one is going to make it out of here alive. So in all, the way she left this earth was just about as good as it gets and she knew it. And that makes me smile.
But I cry a lot, still, because I miss her. I want to tell her about a great bargain I found or something that would make both of us laugh. I want to ask her advice while sitting at the kitchen table eating the meal she could always pull together out of whatever she had on hand. I want to hear her reassure me that I’m doing a good job as a mom because I doubt myself sometimes. But I can’t do any of that and it hurts so I cry. And that’s all about me.
So, the lesson is this. Maybe it can help you as much as it’s helped me.
When whatever emotion or reaction you’re having is about you, can you set aside focusing yourself and look at it how the other person might be feeling or viewing the situation?
Perhaps the circumstance that’s messing you up is actually causing someone else to be really happy and it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with them getting something that means a lot to them.
Or maybe you’re terribly hurt by someone. Is it possible they inflicted that hurt because of their even greater level of pain?
It’s OK to be sad for yourself. It’s just that the sadness can co-exist with another more positive feeling by putting yourself in the other person’s place. And when you do that, your own sadness will lighten.
I’m smiling thinking about you, M.O.M.