Death comes in many different ways. Sometimes, a loved one suffers from a life threatening disease. If you're lucky, there is time to prepare and anticipate with the support of those around you. Sometimes, death is sudden. It takes everyone by surprise.
No matter how death interjects in your life, there are common emotions it will evoke. So common, all everyone around you can do is simply help you cope by reassuring you that they are normal. It will be upsetting, confusing, hard, and frustrating. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and one thing is certain: you’ll never be the same. I also know there is only one certainty that really, truly matters. It is so important to remember in times of pain:
It will get better.
And there, in that small four word statement, one which I believe to be true with my whole heart, is where the core difference between my mother and myself lay. She could not, for the majority of her life, be happy. She felt immense joy and, at times, an infinite sadness. It was a battle and not something any her family, friends, therapists, or anyone else could ultimately help her with. Believe me, we tried, and we tried so damn hard. She was deceptive and her infectious smile and laughter would make you think nothing was wrong. The distance grew between us and, recently, she made the decision to finalize that distance.
There is always a choice when something terrible happens. We can choose to turn our backs and cope independently, or, we can choose open up - to give and receive love. I feel so lucky to have so many friends spread out across the world, friends give me this kind of support and love when times are tough.
I choose love, just like they do. I choose to remember the many laughs we shared, her many varied hobbies and phases. Writer/runner/carpenter/house painter/musician/horse whisperer/yogi...I could go on. Ultimately, I will move on. Because I actually do believe it will get better.