Last year on Dec. 9th around eleven thirty in the morning, I got a call that my oldest daughter was dead. She was forty one and had eight children, five still at home.
You never expect that sort of thing to happen, at least not to your kid. And not to you. And not right before Christmas. You never dream you’ll be attending your daughter’s funeral on the day you’re supposed to be having your family Christmas party.
It’s just not in the unwritten manual of things to expect as a mom.
When someone unexpectedly passes it causes a huge wave that pulls people out of the woodwork. Then after the initial shock dies down, neighbors and coworkers etc. drift back into their familiar grooves.
And the immediate family and close friends are left to adjust and deal with their grief in their individual ways.
My initial reaction to the news that Aubrey was dead was shock. How could this be possible?? Even when I saw the proof it still didn’t seem real. Talk about a heart chakra whammy! Gradually my mind accepted the fact and I adjusted to the reality. I processed it, let her go, and felt peace about her passing.
My firstborn daughter was always my teacher. She taught me what it was to be a mom, even a not-so-popular one. She and I were like oil and water much of the time. We often each sat firmly on opposite sides of the fence. Eventually this became so uncomfortable for me that I ventured over to her side, sincerely yearning to understand what made her tick. And progress was made.
Dealing with my (challenging to me) daughter while she was alive taught me the importance of:
Looking for the good in others
Loving people unconditionally
Asking for forgiveness
Forgiving -others and yourself
Going out of your way to meet other people in their territory
The day I got the call, before I knew for sure, all I could think was, if this is really real I’m SO GLAD I put myself out there and made real effort with her, and that things had actually changed between us. I was so thankful my last year with her was good! I was so glad the last time I saw her I gave her a hug and told her I loved her!
Aubrey continued to teach me after she passed. She taught me what it’s like to lose a child and even though I hope I don’t have to ever experience that again, because of her I know I’m strong and faithful enough to handle it gracefully if it does. Even though she is gone I sense her nearness. I know without a doubt she lives on in spirit! She’s become my angel and in her wordless angelic way she lets me know she’s able to see me through much more merciful eyes than she could before. Through Aubrey’s passing I’ve gained many beautiful insights and I’m grateful for this blessing.
Mainly what I learned from the experience of losing my daughter is this. Life is short and you never know when it’s going to end, for you or someone you love. So don’t waste it on trivial things like judging, blaming, holding grudges, and needing to be right. There’s a lot of wisdom in Tim McGraw’s song Live Like You Were Dying.
When Aubrey died she taught me inside out to love and LIVE as fully, and happily as I can each day, and not let life pass me by, because (this goes for all of us!) unexpected things can happen. Because it is possible that this will be the last day or week or month or year that you or someone you love has left.
To be on the safe side, so you won’t look back and have regrets, be your best self and love your life. Love all your dear ones mightily (even if it’s just in your heart because they won’t receive the love you offer -at least clean things up on your end!), and do your best to truly enJOY all your precious days. Like you would, if you knew, you were dying.