My mother died this week. She was elderly and ill for the last little while and yet still I am trying to figure it out and sort through my emotions.

I have watched my mother’s health deteriorate significantly these last three months and I have been busy with her affairs for at least a month now, but still there is a sense of the unreal here.

I find myself acting somewhat stunned. I am more forgetful than usual and feel really quite foggy, not being certain about much at all.

The sense that something really significant has happened that I can’t quite put my finger on is powerful.

Every once in a while I step away from the busy and try to check my feelings. What I’m left with each time is the same sense of wishing that things could have been different.

It’s not so much a feeling of regret, but almost an amazement that we couldn’t have found a way to do things differently, that we couldn’t have done it all “better.”

So many times over the years, I remember biting my tongue when I thought of a new approach, feeling that offering new would only lead to more disappointment.

So many times I recall leaving her wishing we could have been more “real” somehow and feeling frustrated that we played our roles until the end.

I learned many years ago how my mother and I played our roles out.

After a while the years of training and expectations sink in and become cemented. After a while change is very difficult.

The day my mother died I sat beside her bed and said some of the things that I wished I could have said for years.

I’m not sure she heard me but it was helpful for me to say them anyway.

What I’m left with besides sadness that I was unable to change our relationship and communication patterns is the disbelief that there never even seemed to be an opportunity to proceed differently.

The dye was cast and the roles set and stepping outside what had always been was only frustrating and disappointing.

Finally expressing myself to my mother was helpful for me.  I wish that it had been possible years before.

If you understand what I’m trying to say about living out our roles and things always being the way they have been, then I would ask you to consider trying to find options that currently do not exist with you and those that you have set patterns with.

I also know how that’s a nice thought but sometimes is simply not possible.

At the very least remember the picture of me trying finally to say some of the things that I had wanted to say for so long. The chance for change and freedom shows itself in the strangest places.