Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making Her List & Checking It Twice

my-lists-512I am a list maker. When I was younger, I considered my lists some sort of indication of how productive I was. It was the best feeling ever when I could toss out the list when everything was done. As I have aged though, I have realized I accomplish something important each time I cross off a task on the list. My list is never ending and I am never really able to toss the list all together. I always find something new to add.

Not all of us are list makers or planners. Some people are comfortable just taking things as they come. For control freaks like me, this would never do. If I could, I would always know what to expect. I would walk into a meeting at work with an agenda in hand and the meeting would follow it to the letter. Unfortunately, this never happens.

I am like my mother in many ways. Most of which I did not realize, or admit, until recently. My mother is a planner. A control freak I suppose. At the very least, mom is a list maker. Even now, in her weakest state, mom is making a list and checking it twice.

While visiting DC last weekend, Mom and I were talking and the conversation took a turn. I had prepared myself for the conversation but was still caught off guard. She began her requests with the question “what will you tell my grandsons about me?” She continued to tell me she did not want them to think she gave up. As I began to sob in her arms, I told her I was about to tell her the hardest thing I will ever tell anyone. I gave her permission to go to sleep and not wake up. I gave her permission to find peace and not be in pain any longer. I reminded her that, if in fact, she chooses to close her eyes and not open them again, that it is just her body giving up and not her spirit. Her spirit will live forever in everyone she has touched.

Mom went on to lay out what she wanted me to have of her material things. She wants to write a letter to one of her stepdaughters. She asked to speak to my boys and their dad. With each request she made, she checked something off her mental list. With each item she checked off the list, a weight was lifted.

Much like when you have a rough day and can’t sleep due to restlessness, Mom needs a clear mind to sleep soundly for eternity. She continued her list of requests with asking me to take care of my stepdad. Check. She asked me to work on my relationship with my sister. Check. She asked me to raise my boys with God and not be afraid to ask for help doing so. Check. She told me to be true to myself in everything I do. Check.

Unlike the lists I currently make, Mom’s list will end. When I look at the things on my list now, they all seem so trivial. Oil change, haircut, car tags, and cat food. My recent conversations with Mom have made me alter the things on my list a bit. Sure the things to do things to get done at some point, but I have added a few things as well. Call my sister more. Let the dishes sit until the boys go to bed. Write more. Sing louder. Talk more and text less. Nurture relationships.

Losing a parent is a part of life that some of us are lucky enough to avoid well into our adulthood. If I can find anything good about dealing with this in my early thirties, it is that I realize now, rather than later, that some things just aren’t as important as we make them. Just like kids growing into young adults, we all have to learn from our own mistakes no matter how hard our parents try to help us avoid making mistakes they made. My mother is still teaching me.

1 comment:

Sarah Jo said...

So sorry to hear about your mom. Losses like these are never easy, but I'll be praying for you!

P.S. Glad you're blogging again. I've missed you!