There is something uniquely inexplicable about a mother-daughter relationship. It can take on many forms and evolve over time into something completely different, but it’s a sacred connection that can only be understood by women. For me, that relationship was one of student to mentor, authority to rebel, war to peace, respect to admiration.
My mother was a strong personality with very clear ideas of how things should be done. Her beliefs were strong and unwavering. And because she was so set in her ways I rebelled and we often clashed. To say our relationship was tumultuous would be an understatement. I was the ying to her yang, only there was no seamless joining of the two. In a way you could say I was just like her and in a way her polar opposite.
I laugh when I think about it now, all those times I felt my way of doing things was so much better and the lengths to which I would go to try to change her to my way of thinking. It wasn’t going to happen – for either of us. We recognized it, we fought it but in the end it never affected the unconditional love we had for one another. She was my nemesis and my rock and she taught me all I know about being a strong, secure woman.
Today is the seventh anniversary of her death and I still remember holding her hand as she took her last breaths and the tear streaming out of her left eye as she exhaled for the final time. I felt blessed knowing that for the length of our relationship on earth, it was she and me when I came into this world and she and me when she left it. I knew she wouldn’t want it any other way. It was the best gift my mother ever gave me.
Today the pain is much less intense. There are even days when I don’t think of her, but those are few. I know she is with me, I feel her. I talk to her and she answers me in very visible ways: Please mom, help Mia be more comfortable so that she’s not continually shaking her ears until we can take her to the vet tomorrow – Mia lies down and has a peaceful night. Please mom, make the operation on my back a success so that I no longer have pain in my legs – the operation is a success, the pain is gone. Please mom, intercede for us so that the rain holds off until our special event is over – the rain holds off and starts immediately after the event has concluded. Please mom, let the predicted bad weather hold off so that I can have a safe plane ride – the predicted bad weather never occurs. Please mom, help me deal with the pain of your death and let me know that you’re ok – the Celine Dion song “I’m Your Angel” immediately begins to play on the car radio (that one reduced me to a crying fit that necessitated me pulling off to the side of the road). She is with me in spirit and of that I absolutely have no doubt.
So today I honor her. The first lady on our block to go back to work. The first lady night manager at the bank where she worked. The mother who made sure both her children went to private schools and saw to it their college educations were paid for so they did not have to work and could focus on their studying. The woman who stood by her husband when he battled alcoholism. The mother that I could rely on no matter what, time after time after time.
I love her, I miss her, a part of me died with her, a part of me carries on for her. She occupies a special place in my heart and will for as long as I live. She is my angel.