I’m experienced at feeling grief, I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong.
My mom died three weeks ago. I’m in Shloshim, and walking around in an altered state of consciousness. Shloshim (in Judaism) is the initial 30-day mourning period after the death of a close family member.
I learned a tremendous life lesson as a result of my relationship with my mom. No other relationship has ever produced such supreme anguish as the one between the young me and my mother. Back then, she often told me I was too much, and that my feelings were too big. She rarely looked my way and never hugged me. At seven- years-old, I overheard her offer me to a friend.
I thought she was kidding. I was wrong.
It is because of our difficult relationship that I learned to stand up and be who I am despite the threat of disapproval and withdrawal of affection. I learned to go inward and connect with G-d and a higher part of myself to feel love and to not only accept who I am, but to love who I am not despite, but because of, my ability to feel my giant feelings.
To a large degree, this is how I learned to spot the light in everyone even when they themselves could not feel it. This was a gift.
We don’t have to meet people where they are, we just have to love them where they are to find any sort of peace. This is something I learned from being my mother’s child.
Our relationship remained, overall, a strained one. That is up until the last two years.
Almost 24-months ago, my mom seemed to recognize her own mortality and some healing and repair began between us. She no longer skipped me when greeting family members with a kiss on the cheek and she slowed her steady flow of unkind remarks about me, to me.
For the first time in over forty-years, my mom reached out. She started to call me on the phone and wanted to know about my life, my husband, and about my children! I was cautious and happy.
My mom and I had dozens of humor-filled, tension-free conversations. My husband and I welcomed her into our home for large family celebrations. I’m glad we did.
On November 7, 2017 my mom was diagnosed with stage-four-lung-cancer.
She was heroic in the way she handled her diagnosis. She moved through the illness with acceptance, and was not afraid to die. She also became in my experience, a little more willing to talk honestly about her parenting choices.
Our conversations became deeper. Rapid-fire she acknowledged some things long folded up and put away.
I learned so much in the last months about the landscape of my mother’s mind and truly enjoyed connecting with her. The best of her, at least for me was the last of her.
She died on January on 6th with my brother by her side.
I have never seen anyone approach death with such grace. She embraced the process of dying fearlessly and seemed to sink into every moment. She even maintained her sense of humor. Witnessing such courage was a gift.
Her funeral was on her 80th Birthday. Our party plans changed direction completely. We mourned her death and celebrated her life.
We being all four of her children, our wonderful children and spouses, a grandson- in-law and one tiny, beautiful, great granddaughter. My family is nothing short of amazing.
Thank you most sincerely for every single kind gesture extended to me and mine during this time of mourning.
My Speaking Engagements!
*February 18th, Lake Harriet Motivational Service!
*February 22nd & March 22nd Jodi is on Jim Harold’s Paranormal Plus Club! (Details soon!)
*March 7th speaking engagement in MN The Art of Affirmations!
*I’m in the January/February addition of Kindred Spirit Magazine!
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