My mother passed away last week. It happened quickly, leaving the family stunned and in shock. It doesn't seem quite real yet.
We're glad for her that she didn't have to endure a long illness or live as an invalid, which are prospects she would have dreaded.
Islay Brown-Hodgkins lived a fairly quiet life that revolved around family, her kids, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. All of them that could make it descended on my little town this week.
Some drove as much as eight hours to attend the funeral. Two of my daughters flew halfway across the country to be here. Family members ranged from newborn to mid-eighties representing the Brown, Harris and Hodgkins clans.
Old friends from different eras of her life, from several generations, paid their respects. If I have inadvertently left anybody out, it's just that there are so many people and I have lost track.
We knew there would be many mourners, but we were taken by surprise by the numbers of people who flocked to the memorial service. The place was full to overflowing.
Not bad for a quiet life centered on family.
Mothers sometimes feel like their influence and importance is in the background of their children's lives. They hope to have made a deep impact on their families, but we all know there are so many other aspects to our children's lives, we hope not to be ultimately be lost in the shuffle.
We know we are just mom. And we hope that being mom will have lasting value to our children, and our children's children. We also know, this doesn't always happen, and only time will tell.
Family relationships can go through many changes over a lifetime. A relationship with one child may be rocky at one time, and become solid at a later point.
A child's understanding of their mom goes through many metamorphoses over a lifetime. Maybe at one point mom is a mainstay, taken for granted. Perhaps at another stage of things, she is a burr under the ol' saddle, thwarting some desires and impulses.
As our kids have their own kids, a new understanding of the trickiness of parenthood can arise for them.