Four years ago today, my mother passed away after a short battle with an overwhelming cancer. So very many other losses and challenges tumbled out after her death! It was more than two years later before I could fully catch my breath, look around, and feel the landscape might look the same on a continuing basis, and it did and it does.
My family winnowed down from five to two. My father suffered a massive stroke that has rendered him helpless. One brother's rabid homophobia erupted, unfettered now by parental disapproval. One brother, sister-in-law and niece remain blessedly normal and connected.
I miss my mother. I miss our talks, shopping trips, I miss her sense of humor. I miss her. It's amazing how things happen. The family just fell apart. I wouldn't have pegged her as the glue that held the family together, but she was, probably equally surprising to her. And I was shocked to see how much she and my father held my eldest brother's venom in check. He went in a flash from someone I knew to someone unknowable, his face and voice twisted and warped by spoken hatred. I have no idea who or what I symbolize to him - I just know I will never share common space with him again.
One major blessing - I have no regrets concerning my mother. I said everything I wanted to to her, and I believe she would say the same about me. That is uncommon grace.