Thankful for Mummy

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 26, 2014

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My mother died one year ago today.  In some ways it seems as though she left this world decades ago and at other times it feels like yesterday.  Death takes a long time to process, even if the person has been fading away for years.

My relationship with Mom wasn’t an easy one.  We often clashed and never seemed to be on the same wavelength.  Her priorities were not mine.  We simply didn’t understand or appreciate each other.

I took the easy path, blaming her for all of our discord.  However, as I’ve grown older, I now realize it wasn’t all her — or me.  The truth was more complicated — like both of us.

Three years ago, I moved back to my rural hometown in central Minnesota to help care for my mom.  She was still herself in many ways, but she had also softened.  She was old and vulnerable.  She had advancing memory loss.  She was dependent and appreciative (mostly) of my efforts to help her.

Even though Alzheimer’s is horrible, the disease helped heal my relationship with my mother.

For that I am thankful.

I now remember my mom with more fondness than I ever thought possible.  Helping her, helped me to let go of lingering anger, resentment and pain.  It also helped me see my own role in our relationship and forgive myself as well.  It feels good to release the bad and think about the good instead.

Tomorrow over a turkey dinner, we will raise a glass to my mom and toast her memory.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*This studio picture of Mom was taken about a decade ago.

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