Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saying goodbye and looking ahead

My aunt passed away on Christmas Eve, in the wee hours of the morning. My uncle held her close for countless hours, so sure each breath was her last and wanting to spend every last second with her in his arms. Her breath would whisper out, then stop and his tears would flow, only to be stopped by another breath, drawn anew. But she was gone, her body just didn't realize it yet. Finally, she breathed her last and her body was still.

We laid her to rest today. I've been to funerals before, a few for people quite close to me. I've lost all but one grandparent, and years ago I had to watch my husband bury his mother. Somehow I cried more tears today than I have ever cried over losing someone. I'm not sure why I was so overcome with emotion. I loved my aunt very much and I will miss her dearly. But she lived several hours away and I only saw her once or twice a year. I can't say we were close. Yet I shed so many tears today, my eyes are raw and my skin is blotchy.

Far more than for myself, I hurt for my uncle and their children. She was not yet 60 years old; she only lived to see her 59th birthday. So very, very young to have to say goodbye. Their children are only in their twenties; four people who had to say goodbye to their mother far too soon. I've seen the pain that causes; I lived through it with my husband. Every time I saw her husband bury his face in his hands, every gasp and sob I heard from my cousins, every tear they shed, sent a wave of grief through me. I was relieved that we chose to have my husband stay home with our kids; I wouldn't have wanted them to be upset, and would have kept my tears in today. It was good to let them go.

It sounds like such a cliche to say that you never know how much time you have, you need to be grateful, etc. But it is so very, very true. Our time here is so limited and we don't know when God will call us home.

Instead of making resolutions to eat better, or work out more or lose weight, I'm resolving this year to be more patient, more kind, more loving, and more nurturing to my family. I don't want my children to remember a mom who is grumpy, frustrated and out of sorts. I want us to forge good memories together; nurtured relationships, care and understanding.

I am not perfect and motherhood is messy and hard. But I will try harder. I will work to approach all things with love and care, devote myself to my relationships with my family and focus on love. Because In the end, love is all we really have.

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