We lost our mother, who was so excited about the impending birth of her first great grandchild. The loss of someone close to you is always difficult under any circumstances, yet from my perspective this experience was so different from the other significant loss of our father many decades ago.
My mother was 95 years old and a very independent woman whose mind was sharp. She continued to live her life in her own home albeit with assistance, and took care of all her affairs self-sufficiently. Her mobility was compromised and the usual frailties of her age impeded her ability to live the very full life that she had known in her younger days. But she continued to maintain social relationships and activities as best she could, kept up with the daily news happenings of the world and stayed in close touch with family and friends.
Her death was deeply sad but of course neither shocking nor totally unexpected given her advanced age. She was tired. She struggled with many of the tasks of daily living. She was ready and it was her time to leave here. Yes she would miss the many happy family events that will continue to occur but her death was an expected event in the cycle of life, and my reaction to it as such and the sadness associated with that was so different from our previous loss.
My father was not elderly and his death was sudden, unexpected and shocking. The pain was searing and ripping, and the profound sense of loss at that time reached into the depths of our hearts. Mourning his absence took a very long time to overcome. And the knowledge of what he would miss in the futures of his children and grandchildren was overwhelming and continues to be felt at every special occasion as well as in sharing the daily joys of everyday life.
So as I reflect on our loss of this past year, I think of the celebration of life but especially of the blessing of a long life well lived. And I wish that blessing to everyone, particularly as we prepare for the New Year and the Days of Awe. Mourning is a part of life just as is knowing happiness and facing challenges. Yet when it is in the context of a long life well lived, it is a quieter and gentler sadness and such a different perspective on loss and on living than other tragedies.
May we all experience a joyous coming year filled with many blessings as well as peace and contentment.