woman holding a ladle full of gravy over a pan

Doing My Life Better Series: Losing My Mom

Doing My Life Better Series

(In hopes of helping you do your life better too)

I will be writing a series of blogs about how to do my life better. I always find something in other’s stories that resonates with me, so I hope the same is true for you. I will not try to find the parallels; you will have to do that. The first part is to excavate. That means looking at my defining moments, those moments that changed me in some small way, or changed the trajectory of my life in big ways. Some of mine are funny, some are somber and some just are.  I hope you can see something in these that is meaningful to you. 

Losing My Mom

I stopped being mothered at 22. This is not meant to have you feel sorry for me. It is just a fact. My mother stopped breathing in January 1982. That changed me in ways that I cannot even articulate. While I had my father, there was a hole that left me lonely and scared. Scared that I had not learned all the rules, that I did not have anyone to ask if I was doing life right. Lonely that I did not understand that there were others in my life that would have stepped up and helped me. Instead, I put up a wall of ‘I am fine’ and marched on. I believed that I had to figure everything out by myself. 

I do not know who I would have been with a Mother throughout my life. Would I have been more open to relationships, more available to others, more willing to be vulnerable? I will never know.

What I do know is that I cannot make gravy. My gravy is always lumpy, but my Mother made perfect gravy. I did not have time to learn that from her. 

My Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings are always a challenge. I cannot do it like Mom. I wish I had paid more attention back then.

In my twenties, I wondered if you could order a Bloody Mary in the evening or if that is  just a day drinking drink?

When I had a child of my own, I wondered if I was doing it right. There were hundreds of questions I would have liked to ask. 

I wondered if you could send wedding and funeral thank you notes in the same note or if they had to be separate. I had just gotten married for the first time right before my Mother died.  So, I sent two notes to the same person. 

What I do know is that 22 years was enough to instill the qualities that mattered to her in me. Kindness, manners, and a sense that I could do anything and the knowledge that I was loved. 

To be fair to my parents, my father has played a big role in my life and is still around. I have been blessed in many ways. 

This is what I know to be true. I am resilient and strong. I did figure out my life, and while I cannot make gravy, I think I got the harder stuff.

What I wish I had known is that there were always others to help me if I had just been able to ask. My inability to show any weakness is the reason I was lonely and scared, not just because I lost my Mother. As in most things, it is not the event, but how we respond to the event that matters. I responded in a way that was harder than it had to be. I must take responsibility for my part and learn to do life better. For me, that means asking for help, sharing my fears, and being vulnerable and real.

So, how do YOU make gravy? 

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