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It’s weird how time can just go sideways on you. There are days that I can hardly stand to look at this blog, days that I think I will simply disintegrate if I have to take care of one more loose end of my mother’s life, times that the weight of the finality of decisions and even of life itself makes it difficult to drag myself out of bed. Those times were mostly around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving – after my sisters left and there was so much to do that I didn’t know what to do first. And then time does its little break dance and I forget.

I had some good news at work today. In fact it was such good news (compared to everyone else’s news) that I grabbed my phone, unlocked it and hit my contact list before I even knew what I was doing. Before I remembered. Because I forgot, just for that one second. I forgot that I can’t call MoC anymore.

And in a perverse way, I think that’s a good thing. It means that grief isn’t sitting around my neck choking me every day. It means life is returning to some sort of normalcy. And that … well, that is priceless. MoC is always with me in one way or another. We developed a real friendship once she got over her irritating need to be right, lost some of her arrogance and learned to take direction. 😐

Not long ago, I had a conversation with one of my friends about anger. She wanted me to know that it was okay to be angry at MoC for dying, that it was part of the process. I know that anger is considered one of the five stages of grief, but I think I only went through two of them: denial and acceptance. I remained firmly in denial about her condition as long as humanly possible. It really wasn’t until the end of the summer that I saw that she wasn’t getting better. There was no need to bargain with God for anything. There was no need to be angry. It wasn’t as if she were murdered, or died in an accident. She was 75 years old and she had a pretty good life. I flirted with depression, but I can’t be depressed about it. It’s life. It happens to everyone. I can be sad – and I am – but, strangely, I feel better about my life right now than I did even six months ago. I won’t fall into that black hole again. Besides, MoC would haunt me if I did.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two months thinking about a whole lot of things. I’ve learned things about my family that I wish I never knew. Relationships have shifted for the better. I feel … free. I hate to say that because in my head it sounds like I’m blaming MoC for not being free before. But it’s not that. It is that in losing my anchor, my balance, my best friend, I realized that she was never those things. I was my own anchor, my own balance and I have always been my own best friend – and that has always been true.  (Sorry Leslie. I love you second best).

My forties have been an interesting ride. I have a different perspective and all the pieces of my life are coming together in intriguing ways. That is the real freedom. And maybe that’s the last thing MoC had to show me.