I lost my mother to lung cancer 2 months before I would graduate from Rutgers University. It was a devastating time for me because when I was younger, I tended to ignore or pretend away problems like they didn't exist.
It's been almost 17 years now, but recently it has been on my mind since a good friend of mine is going through the same thing with her own mother. I spend time with my friend , but not saying much. Sometimes we just walk in the park, the woods. Sometimes the silence is much nicer than just empty words.
I know she is afraid and I can't take that away from her. She needs to go through the fear of loss. The fear of losing someone is sometimes worse than the actual losing. For me, the worst part was the waiting, the not knowing. It's like you are always holding your breathe.
Then when my mother finally passed, it was like letting go of the air in a sigh of relief. I have come out on the other side of that grief a stronger person, but it took time to cover up the raw wound of losing someone so close, knowing you will never touch, see or smell them again.
The spiritual side of me knows that we are not our bodies - that death is just a beautiful part of life. Nature shows us that plants, flowers and trees die -- only to be reborn again. I see my mother in the sweetness of a lone red flower. I feel her in the lightness of the wind and the softness of a spider web.
The short time we have on this earth reminds me to enjoy each second - be it good or "bad". I want to say all these things to my dear friend, and I look over at her. I take a deep breath in and keep silent, enjoying the wind on my face, the shining sun beaming down on us.