Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Passages. New Perspectives.

A few weeks ago, I visited a Children’s Museum and went through the Alice in Wonderland exhibit. The proportions of everything were deliberately skewed in keeping with the fairy tale and to demonstrate Alice’s point of view.

Funny how that imagery came to me today, as I reflect back on this year full of changes, my new perspective on life, and my place in it. Now, four months since my beloved mother’s passing, I feel more connected to her than I ever imagined possible back then.

I stand on the threshold of significant life changes  – the first “beginnings” and milestones without my mother here on earth. My son will be off to college in New York City next week. I will begin graduate school. My daughter will turn 21 in a few months. In life, Mom would understand these changes and the emotions they bring. In life, she’d encourage and guide (and sometimes prod) me when I entered such transitions. But in spirit, there is none of that.  I simply feel her presence in my heart and I believe I cannot fail. In spirit, my mother’s guidance is as real as if she were sitting in front of me, sipping her coffee from a straw in her cup, sharing biscotti with me in my kitchen.

And I never could have imagined any of this.

Like Alice, something very strange is happening to me, albeit in a good way. I feel an inner wisdom that wasn’t present before. It’s the same wisdom I sensed when Mom was here, guiding me around corners I hadn’t yet approached, letting me learn on my own, yet giving me the Cliffs Notes version whenever it could help.

It’s as if, in her passing from  this life, Mom has passed the torch of  “matriarch” to me, her only daughter, handing me a new role  that I never even considered. What a revelation it was when, longing for her optimism and humor, I began thinking, “Who is most like my mother here on earth?”  The answer came in her voice, through my head.  “You are,” she said.  “You are.”

So as I shopped with my daughter to stock her new apartment with food and other necessities, I felt that sense of pride and maternal love that I know my mother must have felt when she experienced that transition with me. As I talked with my son about his future and his dreams, I felt the same sense of  joy and excitement Mom must have felt when I started my college career.

In a few weeks, the seasons will converge and my first summer without a mother on earth will be over, yielding to an autumn when life’s backdrop will change colors, once again.  With every passing day and month, my perspective will deepen, and my vision will become more clear. I know this not only because I feel it in my heart, but because my mother tells me so.


  1. Doreen, I admire your positive attitude as you enter this new phase of your life. You must have gotten it from your mother - what an amazing woman she must have been!

    Best of luck to you in graduate school!! Keep blogging if you can; it's such a pleasure to read something so beautifully-written and heartfelt!

  2. Thanks, Gail! My mom was an amazing woman who had an incredibly contagious optimism. Whenever someone came to her with a problem, they felt better after talking with her. She was the family sage, the wise one. I was blessed to have her in my life for 47 years and in my home for 11. I learned so much from her and feel I am still learning from her in spirit.