Always wanting more. Right? It’s human nature. The next house will be bigger. The new car will be nicer. Upgrade. Super Size.
As I type, it’s been exactly two years since I hugged Mom for the last time. I’m not sure she knew I was there, and that’s okay. I’m glad I was. Our relationship path had been rocky, so I was honored to be present.
Sometimes I find myself wishing for extra time. If we were able to reconcile, why couldn’t we have done it sooner? She could’ve known my children better. We could’ve vacationed together. There could’ve been more late-night chats. I focus on the missed time. I’ve got supportive friends and a loving husband. My mom’s sister and I have grown even closer in recent years. But dangit, they aren’t my mom.
When I get like that, I give myself a little lecture. “Aren’t you glad the door wasn’t ever completely closed?” It’s a question I always know the answer to. Yes. I am so very happy neither of us locked it shut.
Many, many times, I wanted to throw away the key. I’m not sure why I didn’t. I’m not sure why she didn’t. I never thought about rekindling our mother-daughter life. I’d all but given up. When asked, I’d say it couldn’t be salvaged. Someone once commented about how easy it would be to focus on small stepping stones. I rolled my eyes, telling them the stepping stones were boulders at best.
Our relationship taught me many things. Most of all, I learned that everything is reparable. Circumstances may prevent the work needed for proper repairs, but they’re always possible. Forgiving and forgetting may not always go hand in hand. I’m not sure they’re equally necessary.
Don’t feel pressured to open the door immediately. Timing has to be right. I tried several times, only to be rejected, and it hurt, but closing the door completely, shutting out all future opportunities, seemed so permanent, so unnecessary.
I know there are situations where, in order for proper healing to occur, the door must be locked and sealed with extra-strength super glue. Y’all know the difference. If you’re in one, you can feel the difference. If that’s your case, seal away.
If you can, swallow your pride. Keep the door ajar. Nothing may ever come of it, but what’s the harm in letting a little air in? Hate the metaphor? Fine. Don’t give up. Things just might be fixable. Maybe not now, maybe not in 10 years. What’s the harm in waiting to see?
That day, I rubbed her nearly bald head, and she peacefully slept. Her shoulders were bony, and my arms would’ve wrapped around her twice. I watched her chest go up and down, with what would be her final breaths on this earth. She’d never looked more beautiful. “Love you. You were a good mom,” I whispered in her ear. I’d like to think she heard me. As I left, I pulled the door to, knowing it’d be the last time. I didn’t dare close it.