Dear Mom

It has been nearly a year since you died. This year, Christmas is just not going to be the same without you. Our most important, annual family ritual will feel alien, since cooking that special holiday meal always had you front and center. We have been training and practicing for years for the inevitability when we’d have to cook the meal without you, and now that it is upon us, I feel unspeakably sad.

You know our path together has not always been smooth and easy, but what mother-daughter relationship is (I can just see all you women out there raising your hands)? But we found our peace with each other long before you passed, and for that I am unspeakably grateful.

It’s ironic perhaps that it took your death for me to find the psychological space to reflect on who you are separate and apart from your role as my mother. Now I see the person from which I inherited my thirst for information, caretaking nature, and zest for life. From you I inherited my need to influence my environment and to help those around me. With that, I feel even more intimately connected to you.

I didn’t always agree with your approach or subject of your change-project (too often, me) just as I know others don’t always agree with mine. But like you, our intentions are always positive and passionate, even if we are sometimes, oftentimes, misinformed. And to the degree that we’ve fumbled more than we achieved, and for the times that you took the difficult path out of love, I feel unspeakably humbled.

Mom, I hope to carry the best parts of both of us forward. We’ll probably never make them perfect, but they don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. I know you didn’t feel like a brave person.  Nor do I.  But I feel that your passionate spirit carried you places most people fear to tread. I know you have gone places I don’t think I could’ve, and I hope that I can go to the places that you have resisted visiting. Together, we’ve made more progress than either of us could’ve done alone. To that end, I feel unspeakably proud. Of both of us.

I hope Mom that you are continuing to watch over us as you always have and that you’re proud of all of us girls and your 7 truly amazing grandchildren. You earned it.

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