Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lessons from my mother

I have been thinking about my mother today.

When I was fifteen, she underwent triple bypass surgery and avoided the heart attack that was on its way. Nine years later, when I was twenty-four, she suffered a massive, debilitating stroke. Nine years after that, she died.

So, for nearly half of my life, I remember my mother in sickness. Tired, recuperating, healing, at times an insomniac, at times depressed.

That's not to say these are the only ways I remember her. They are not. Afterall, she was a whole, multi-dimensional person. I could write about the many other ways I remember her. Here is just one, the one that struck me today. Through all of these cycles of unhealth, unwell-being, my mother was never afraid of dying. "When it will be my time, it will be my time," I heard her say more than once. The tone behind those words, calm, peaceful, accepting. Not defeated, but brave and practical at once.

A former boss used to ask all the time, What am I supposed to learn from this? And if her employees were experiencing a particularly challenging situation, she would pose the question to them. "What are you supposed to learn from this?" Today I have wondered, what lesson can I take from my mother possessing a calm, peaceful acceptance of what is?