A dear friend very unexpectedly lost her mom the other day. They had been together at a family gathering and her mom flew home a few days in advance and passed away while her daughter - and only child - was on her way home. It seemed so incredibly cruel - coming as it did less than a year after she'd lost her dad. I thought about the shock of this news - and all the complicated feelings that come along with losing someone close to us - particularly a parent.
Many people believe we revert to our childhood selves around our parents and in many ways it makes perfect sense as the past is where we knew one another best. So it seems to be a comfort to throw on the coats of the roles we knew so well - no matter how ill-fitting they seem to be at times. We fight for what is familiar and spend too much time disappointing one another by failing to live up to the expectations that go along with loving someone who is supposed to know you so very well - and yet seems blind to pieces that seem so vital. The words of a parent are fraught with meaning - in a way that defies logic to an outsider - and it can be perilous trying to navigate past the old wounds, the long-simmering hurts we've inflicted on one another. And yet even now, when I feel low - I am a child late at night, feverish and ailing - and my mom is at my bedside rubbing my back and whispering her sympathy and making me feel like I am free to close my eyes and nothing bad will happen. I ache for my friend - for her loss - and for the empty place where her mother's arms once were.