My Mom was a person who valued people and time. She valued the relationships she had with others with respect, respectful honesty, thoughtfulness, insight, intelligence, humor and love.
Some people may say that one sees something “very black and white”. My Mom did just that but with a lot of understanding and compassion. She had the uncanny ability to see a situation for what it was and was able to offer so much comfort and joy to all of those in her life. When you were in her presence you were surrounded with a sense of love and joy.
She was a true problem solver that had a way to speak the truth without creating disrespect or meaningful hurt. Friends and family were amazed at how “strong” she was during her fight against Lymphoma and that she didn’t complain. She did what she had to do and that was to courageously fight her illness. That is just who she was.
I’ll never forget, while she was on Hospice, many friends and family wanted to say their good- byes and well wishes. Even in her last days she greeted everyone with a smile. Some people say this is a rare gem and it was. I do miss that a lot, however, there is so much value in a loss.
As my Mom used to say, no one knows or understands the situation until you are in it, so you can’t judge. Yes, I am sharing this and maybe you are thinking, well of course she was your Mom, you would feel that way. If my Mom weren’t my Mom, she would definitely have been my friend.
One of the greatest memories at her viewing was my meeting her clients, people that I didn’t know. Hearing how deeply and genuinely they were touched by her and feeling the love they had for her was priceless. Just last week, someone said to me, your Mom was the kind of person that could put two enemies in a room together and she would have them coming out of the room hugging each other.
Value in loss. How? Your life is your legacy. Abraham Lincoln said “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
As history proves over and over, we learn from our past. Yes, we mourn the loss of those that have touched us deeply, but there comes a time that we bring the value of the loss to the surface.
Being strong is who she was, it was her character. Strength is character; however it is our choice to exercise it. The character of her being had so much value. The interesting thing is that her character lives on more deeply now.
I was told by a wonderful grief counselor “You will never be the same, especially after suffering the loss of a Mother, but you will in time see the value.” Yes, I see and appreciate the value in loss. The value of my time and how I spend it. The value of what is acceptable and what is not. The value of tolerance among reality. The value of respect and thoughtfulness. The value of compassion and understanding.
I’ve learned to not get the value mixed up in expectation either. You are who you are. As my Mom once said, you can’t always expect others to do as you would. You are who you are, that is a gift, but you become smarter of what is acceptable through experience. Becoming wise with the gift of the value she left behind is what I would like to believe and that it can only become richer in time.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Helen Keller
Yes, I value all the qualities of my mother, Roberta, and I value those qualities in myself – not as a victim, not as feeling entitled, but appreciating the gift in time and seeing its true value.
This story was contributed by Jenn Schneider. She is a teacher, volunteer with the American Cancer Society, and blogs at Thank You Isn’t Enough. She was inspired to write after the passing of her Mom and her battle against cancer, but most importantly inspired by the person her Mom was and all the lessons and memories she left her with.