Where my close relationship with Dad took so long and so much effort to forge, my relationship with Mom is like taking a breath, just so natural and effortless. Our kinship, hers and mine, is almost too organic to be noteworthy....it just "is".
She is quiet (well, sometimes not so quiet) strength and reason and determination and consideration and grace and goodness and selflessness and CARE, above all. What better example of the beauty of fighting the futile battle is there than she has been in her loving, tender, constant, unwavering care of my dying father? My fondest memories of each of them and of the two of them together are from what proved to be his last days on Earth, largely because she dealt with it all so fearlessly. I have no doubt that much of the courage he showed in facing his fate, he drew from her strength.
But Mom should not be marginalized as just a wife or just a mother or just a caregiver or "just" an anything. She is a formidable force in her own right, deceptively calm and peaceful, yet ready to rise to any occasion to deal with it summarily.
I felt obliged to "make things right" with Dad, in view of our history together. I've never felt compelled to do like wise with Mom. Why would I? That doesn't mean that I am not supremely grateful for all that she has given and shown and done in my life....and all that she continues to do.
Our lives together are a conversation in progress that had no beginning and will have no end. Of that, I am certain.
For that, I live in gratitude.
(She will KILL me for this photo! She's in her element...her 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration with Dad [before we knew he had cancer] in August 2006. But I've never seen another that captures the side of her that means more to me than this one. Sorry, Mom!)