Two years ago, my outstanding mother died.
You know how they say, “When a loved one dies, a part of you dies”? It’s true. My mother loved me every day of my life for 23 years; it was a fact of life. When she died, that part of my life died. Not in any dramatic way – just literally, a massive human connection in my life disappeared.
However, I’ve learned that this is a universal part of the human experience. Everybody, if they live long enough, will have loved ones die and will die a little bit themselves. It’s true, and it’s unavoidable.
That period of time in your life (if you’re lucky enough to experience it) when everything is whole – all the people you’ve ever loved are living – is temporary. It’s a wonderful period, but it’s not permanent. And once it’s over, you can’t ever go back.
If this makes you sad, that’s OK. It should. Sadness is also a reality of life. Avoiding sadness is delaying the inevitable and denying a part of reality. But all is not gloomy.
While a part of me died two years ago, I am beginning to see other areas in which I’m growing. Life is dead in some places, but it’s alive in others. It’s kind of like a huge wildfire happened; tons of things are permanently burnt and dead, but the underbrush is now starting to flourish. The old trees aren’t coming back, but the new trees are exciting and wonderful.
My connection with Mom is not growing any more, but the memories are there, and – most importantly – the groundwork she laid isn’t going anywhere. I am continuing to grow as a person, and it’s largely because she was such a great mother. To continue the wildfire analogy, it’s like she planted many of the seeds in the underbrush.
So let’s acknowledge life for what it is: partly miraculous and beautiful, partly tragic and depressing. If you want to get more happiness and beauty out of life, I can give you a guaranteed way. Be honest with yourself; think about who you love and where your real connections are, and talk to those people. Hug them, tell them the truth; cherish their existence while you have it. You might wake up tomorrow and find those people permanently dead.
Your life won’t end when loved ones die, but part of it will. Keep this in the front of your mind, and start getting the most out of your relationships as you possibly can.