Yesterday was the third anniversary of my mother’s death. I thought I had handled it well enough, no tears or depression, just very fond thoughts and memories.
This post is not meant to be maudlin! She would not have wanted that – in fact, she led a long and productive life, so we can but rejoice in that, and in the fact that her death was as painless as possible for her.
So, I share with you a few memories, mostly taken from my last visit to her in South Dakota.
She apologized to me for not allowing me to go to an out-of-state college, as I had wanted to. She said if they had realized that I would work and support myself all my life, they would have made a different decision on that. I was suprised by her statement, but I said that I thought it was certainly the right decision to make at the time. They had several other children in college, after all. And they had no way of knowing how the world would change for my generation. Plus, I said, it was probably better (given my rather sheltered upbringing) to go to a smaller college in-state – I had enough trouble handling the freedom of university as it was! And, let’s face it, I felt I had done pretty well with the education I received.
On a related subject, I told her one of the best things they had done for me was to remove financial support when I lost my college scholarship (see the previous paragraph – trouble handling freedom = too much partying!). When they did that, I was forced to find ways of paying for my own education. No matter how much I might have resented that at the time, it was the making of me. I realized that you can only truly appreciate things you work and pay for yourself.
She took me to task for an unkindness of 30 years before. OK, she was right, but hey, it was something said by my ex-husband, not by me! She was right, though, that I should have apologized to my sister at the time for the comment, but the arrogance of a 20-year-old didn’t allow that. So, sorry, sis, I think you know what I am talking about!
And one last thing. She asked me to give a presentation to her group about me moving to Spain. So I did. At the end, I was asked “how did you have the nerve to leave a good job, to do something so different in a new country, to take such a big risk?”. All I could say to that was that my parents had given me the belief and confidence in myself to believe that I could achieve anything I really wanted to. And that is the most valuable gift they gave me.