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Forever Connected

   My mom died on December 18th. There it is. Still doesn’t feel quite right to say it or write it down. Since that time and the weeks leading up to and after her death, I have had time to think about life and death, birth and re-birth.

   I helped take care of my mom during the last weeks of her life. We talked about whether she believed in heaven. She said she didn’t know, but she believed her soul and those of her loved ones would be connected forever.

   I love that thought. Our souls are forever intertwined with those we love. That’s the type of rebirth I can endorse; we don’t come back as other people or things, but we are eternally connected.

   Since her death I have felt strong and weak, relieved and sad. Mother-daughter relationships are complicated. I had a healthy fear of my mom growing up. I didn’t really understand her and although I called her every day, I would not describe us as extremely close. She was not one of those “she’s by best friend” moms. I can’t remember her overtly teaching me things or us discussing important issues. In retrospect, she taught by example, was always there when I needed her, and I never doubted how much she loved me. In other words, she was the epitome of what a mom should be.

   I believe she has continued her role as a mom by passing along her qualities to her children. Sure, she greatly influenced us during her life, but something has changed since her death. I feel different. Stronger. In my heart I know this strength is from her.

   I am the emotional baby in a family of Type A people (I’m Type A-). I was a mess at my dad’s funeral eight years ago. I couldn’t speak at the service; I just sat with crocodile tears running down my face. It was a stroke, unexpected and quick. With mom it was different. We knew she was dying and although it didn’t happen as quickly as she would have liked, the time gave us a chance to care for her as she cared for us.

   I surprised myself with how I handled the circumstances. There was no breakdown, no outpouring of tears. I did whatever she needed in the most graceful way I could. Just like my mom would have. I was even able to speak at her service- there was no question that I could and I would do just fine. Thank you, Mom.

   I feel like my siblings received different traits. My sister is a younger version of my mom. All business and totally capable of anything she puts her mind to. She doesn’t love the unknown or a mess. After my mom died she got a dog-what? She even calls him her little boy. A softness has emerged in her via my mom. In a way, that’s what rebirth is about: drawing upon others to help you through life. It’s our interconnectedness of souls, our continual rebirth.

 

by Jamie Banks