It’s been two years since my mother passed away, and every now and then I am blindsided by onrushing waves of grief that are so intense and severe that they verge on disabling. They don’t last very long, because I refuse to dwell in the guilt that always accompanies grief, but when they happen, they always surprise me.
My mother and I were good when she died. We had a stormy relationship from the very beginning, but by the time she breathed her last, we were good.
Last week I realized that the waves of grief stem from personal reflection and memories of things I wish I could apologize for. I’d like to just call her up and say, “Mom, I’m so sorry I was such a little shit.” But I can’t. She’s gone. And I have to live with the fact that there are years of amends I can no longer make to her. She never demanded or even asked for any kind of apology. She loved me with a parent’s unconditional love and affection, rewriting history in her mind as she grew older until we were all perfect children in her memory.
I have only to trust that I’ll see her again, and if those things are still important in that place where we’ll meet, I’ll have the opportunity to make it all good then.
In the meantime, these waves of grief and guilt are testimony not only to my enduring love for her, but my personal spiritual growth that allows me to reflect and realize these things. Wherever she is, I know she understands.