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Shhhh, to the shame I feel. Mom and Dad have been married over 60 years. They have been together forever. Through good and bad: lots of good, and not much bad. But that is a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

He is dying soon now, and I don’t want to talk to her. But she is within earshot of him 24/7. She is anxious and so stressed. She needs and deserves comfort too. Her life is about to change so radically, and I am trying to relate. But she is unable to live in the now, constantly interrupting, continually interjecting her anxious questions and opinions.

Shhhh… I don’t want to comfort her any more. I can only whisper these unkind words quietly. I don’t understand her lack of gratitude for her life of plenty- plenty of clothes, food, travel, houses, time. She can’t see it. The scared little girl who grew up during the depression is still not ok.

Shhhh… I won’t say it out loud, but she doesn’t feel like a mom to me (only a mother). She never has. As soon as I could, I made myself into a mom of my own design. Now, silly me- I am jealous of my own daughter’s mom. It hurts to chop down a family tree, to radically change it. To find warm tenderness rather than chilly cold reactions feels so warm outwardly, but does it warm the 55-year old chill I grew up with?

Shhhh, I can’t be around her too much without losing sight of my self, the changes I am instituting, the unconditional love I am trying for, the plans for my relationships with my grandkids, the sensitivity and generosity I am trying for. Some days it is so hard that I feel like I am inventing it from nothing. I am alchemizing golden tenderness from gray sludge auto-reflexes.

I have this tree limb over here that used to be a tiny bud, then a sprig, then a branch, and now a full size limb we can sit on for days. I’m busy pouring sunshine on it with intentions of flowering connections, loving listening, enthusiastic gratitude, and most importantly authentic connections.

In order for that limb to keep going growing, I need space from you Mother. I wanted you on the tree limb with me all along. But you won’t climb out there. It is ok. I need to understand and will, in time. But I will keep climbing, reaching for the sunshine. I’m building the new tree out there anyway, without you.

Shhhh. I’m so sorry. But I am climbing and watering and flowering and building. And I like it over here.

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