It has been 3 months since Mom passed.  I am in awe at how different I feel. Some of it is no longer having to live with a fear that started in my gut, crawled all the way up to my throat and choked me, 24 hours a day. There were a million things to be afraid of:

Mom needing a bone marrow transplant
Mom not being able to recieve a bone marrow transplant.
Mom having a bad reaction to chemo. 
Mom’s bone marrow not recovering to the point of being able to get chemo.

Most of all, Mom dying.

Well, I don’t have to be afraid anymore (not that being afraid made any difference, and in fact just made the final months of her life less pleasant for me, but it was unavoidable). I’m sure it contributes to feeling lighter, but its not the whole story.

I don’t hear her talking to me.  I don’t smell her.  I don’t see her in crowds.  I don’t visit with her in my dreams. I don’t feel her hands in mine.  I don’t taste her cooking.  But I do feel her all around me, and I feel like I have assimilated her.  There are parts of her that are now my own. I feel her in action– in the motivation to do kindness, listen to others, and pursue my dreams.  I am smiling more.  Some of her light is now my own.

This shift in my personality, my spirit hasn’t been fully realized.  There are relationships and activities which have been neglected through my mom’s illness that I have not returned to yet.  Due to the grief and the many constraints on my life, they may be neglected for some more time yet. But I’m getting back into the swing of things.  I’m coming through this transition a better person.  Mom wouldn’t have it any other way.



14 thoughts on “assimilation

  1. Maura

    Just after my husband died, someone said something unique to me. “When a person died, the relationship with them does not end, it just changes.”

    You speak so well of the fear of losing a loved one, how life might be without them close by. What a beautiful post, a beautiful tribute to your mother and your relationship with her. Take the time you need to grieve. Don’t hesitate to be still or do different things if you feel that they would nurture you more.

    Peace through the journey …. ~m

  2. rachturner

    What a beautiful photo – so much love in both of your eyes. I’m so sorry for your loss. Cancer is not kind, but I pray that the wonderful memories you have of your mother will bring you comfort.

  3. jfeden4

    Wow… just following your link after responding to your comment, and wham, this. My mom died in October, and though she was old and ready to go, for me it has been very hard, as we were very close, and your words here ring so true, help me to understand that I haven’t lost her… assimilated… wonderful! Thanks! – It is a lovely photo, you are both very lovely people… look forward to reading more.

    One of the cool things about blogging is these unexpected gifts…. other people… beautiful lives. Thank you.

  4. finally_write

    This photo is striking. It is like you both are looking into a mirror, seeing each other reflected back… literally, figuratively, and spiritually. Death is such a tricky thing. For those remaining, it can either send you into permanent despair or it can remind you how to live. How blessed you’ve been to have such a positive influence in your life. Your Mom looks lovely and beautiful inside and out, as do you. God bless you.

  5. mishedup

    What a beautiful photo…so much love shines through in this picture and in your words. I love the word you use, assimilation..that is a wonderful thought for the way we move ahead in our lives after a great loss and carry that person with us.

  6. Amy H.

    Yes, yes — this is so true. I especially remember how strange it was to suddenly not have to live with the FEAR. My mom was sick (again) for 4 years and that sense of dread was constant. It was so weird to not have to feel that anymore — and to instead be feeling a million other things.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      My mother only lived 17 months from her diagnosis, which even in the cancer world really isn’t a very long time. I work with breast cancer patients, some of whom have metastatic disease for 10 or more years. I wonder how many such as yourself have the endurance for the years of ups and downs, and the relentless fear. I’m not sure I could have held up for 4 years! Thanks for your comments and for stopping by. Good luck with the baby 🙂


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