Mother’s Day has come and gone. My mom passed away in January of this year, making this Mother’s Day the first one I’ve experienced without her in the physical world. It brought some new feelings to my heart. These last several months have brought about all sorts of changes to my inner world, most of which I just don’t talk about that openly.
This post is going to be very unique, completely unlike my typical writing here at The Leader’s Journey Blog. It’s an open letter to my mom, which gives me a chance to express some deep feelings. The post is as personal as anything I’ve ever published. Hopefully, it will allow anyone else who is living through the recent death of a parent to connect, relate to and feel comforted by that the fact that they aren’t completely alone in their process of grieving.
Dear Mom, I’m angry.
I’m angry at myself. For so many years, you have supported me in all my endeavours. You’ve been my number one fan.
Facebook keeps asking me to invite your profile to my company page – your name is always at the top of the suggestion list. You showed up on Megan’s phone as a suggested friend to add, weeks after you passed. That actually made us laugh at the irony when we saw that.
I’m as short-fused as I’ve been in years. I suddenly have no tolerance for other drivers on the road. I say nasty things under my breath when someone does something I consider stupid, insensitive, or unhelpful.
Where has this judgment come from? Where has my sense of empathy gone?
My answer to that first question is easy to find. I’m judging others so harshly because I’m suddenly judging myself in the same way.
Dear Mom, I feel guilty.
Just writing that headline has made my eyes well up with tears.
I feel as though I let a critical time of our mutual lives pass us by. My life in Montréal has really been a dream on so many levels, but it has also kept the geographic distance between us so great.
Over the past thirteen years, I’ve grown accustomed to missing important moments that we could’ve shared together.
Like your birthday. I was absent for the last thirteen of those.
Mother’s Day itself, another day I never shared with you in person during that period.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing me, but missed out on those moments that were for you. And while I’ve been working hard to create ever more freedom in my life, on the day you passed away, I felt like I’d ran out of time.
Dear Mom, I’m impatient.
There are things in my life that I want to change right now, and for most of those things I’m becoming impatient.
Your sudden death has made me contemplate a key assumption I’ve made my whole life. I have assumed that I’ll live a long, healthy life. Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll live to 95 years of age, maybe I’ll pass away in my 50’s.
I’ve struggled with my level of presence in recent months. There are moments where I find it so difficult to really listen with the depth and focus that I’m used to.
My mind jumps around, anxious to figure out what I want to do next. I rarely feel like I can gear down; life just keeps moving like a speeding train, with me helplessly aboard.
I want to make moves, but haven’t decided that I’m ready yet.
Dear Mom, I’m doing OK.
I have an amazing partner in life. I have an amazing dad, amazing sisters, amazing family and amazing friends. I’m well-supported in all of this.
Occasionally, I do work that truly energizes me. I get to tap into my passion for helping others, and experience the rush of watching them grow. I still enjoy learning – I’m as much a student as I’ve ever been.
I’m not about to be homeless, or starve. I’m in a better position financially than around 50% of the country, which makes me more well-off than roughly 99% of the entire world, give or take a few basis points.
And while I have a lot, I still miss you. I’m still looking through my inner world to find my connections to you. My intuition tells me that’s where the roads to you are, I just need to get a map in order.
Dear Mom, I’m hopeful.
Having experienced other significant, sudden losses in my life, I’ve mastered an important life lesson.
Time can heal all wounds. Especially when the rehabilitation is carefully conducted, I know that time always heals even the deepest of scars.
The physical scars on my own neck are barely noticeable after decades of fading. There is no longer any real pain, and the stories of how they came to be are as meaningful and remembered as ever.
These new emotional scars will heal, too. I believe in the magic of time. And my focus on “getting better,” which is my deliberate choice to make, will never really fade.
Activities like this kind of writing are purposeful steps in that “better” direction.
Dear Mom, I’m grateful.
Every parent says they have the best kids. I get to say I have the best mom.
I know you are still in my life, and the physical presence we shared on this planet was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.
These days, there are moments of great sadness, and others of shock. It still hasn’t completely hit me that you’ve passed away.
Still, I’m so thankful to have met you. I’m lucky to have been your son. I have 30 years of amazing moments to remember, and a lifetime to remain in touch with your spirit.
I’m excited to carry on your legacy, which was your incredible spirit, joie de vivre, and penchant for building strong relationships with those around you.
This Mother’s Day was a reminder of everything that was and is you. It brought back so many amazing memories of you. Oddly enough, it might have been the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in many years.
Here’s to you, Mom. I hope the garden is beautiful wherever you are.