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Lesson 21: Being Grateful.

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A few of years ago, I would have told you that I could not survive losing my mom. Truthfully, I don’t believe that I could have then. I had the realization at that time, that sooner or later, I would have to live without her, and I hated that I had to realize that. What is life without the one who gave it to you?

Around then, my mom told me about a dream that she had, one of several foretelling dreams that I had not wanted to believe. She told me that this dream was recurring and it was my dad and her driving around a cliff side, in silence. Suddenly, the car veers off the road and begins sliding down the cliff. My mom explained that it seemed to be in slow motion and calm on the inside of the car, while she knew that it was rough and chaotic on the outside. In her dream, my dad was scared and apologizing for what had happened, and my mom grabbed his hand and told him that things would be alright.

When she told me this dream, I cried. In some unconscious way, I felt it was her telling me she knew she was not going to live much longer. I have no explanation for feeling that way, but I did. Looking back, it was like this fog that followed me that never really took hold until the end. I never acknowledged this until recently, but now perhaps I realize that our mother-daughter bond had been stronger than either of us understood. We both knew that we knew something that we could not explain.

The significance is that I think my mom somehow tried to prepare me for this over the past two or three years, feeling that she would leave me before any of us were ready. Though, who am I kidding, when would I ever really be ready? What I do know is that over the “cancer” months and in the last few weeks I never once asked myself how I would get through this. I never wondered about myself for a second—which is odd—as the self-proclaimed quintessential baby of the family… all I ever do is think about myself. But even now I think more about my family, about my dad, sisters, aunts and uncles. I worry that they are struggling through something alone, and I want to help them through it. I do not feel pitiful, or sad to be myself. I do not ask God “why?” I am thankful for what I had, because what I had, though short lived, was beautiful. I had more of a mom in those 27 years than many people have in their lifetimes, and I feel grateful. I am not sure if I necessarily feel like I can survive without my mom, I guess I just feel like I learned that I do not have to. I am not surviving without her, because she will always be. Whether here or not, we’re connected, and I think that my mom wanted me to understand that.

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