Friday, October 3, 2014

Lost and Found: My Husband. My Mother. My Self

For almost four decades, we were blessed with a multigenerational family that worked together like a small musical group; each one with a different instrument (ability/interest) playing their part, forming a complete piece of life.

Over the years I'd often be asked how I could possibly live with my mother -- how could my husband live with his "mother in law" -- how anyone could live like we did. What about privacy and how can you grow together as a couple, your own family with someone always "there". Those last comments spoke volumes to me about how they viewed life and relationships.

Relationships develop and grow. Ours was a work in progress and each day we encountered old and new challenges but always worked together to continue to move forward together and the result was a family unit.

I'm not as lost today as I've been in the days and years that have passed since my husband's passing and more recently from Mom's. Although the challenges of adjusting to taking over as much as possible what he did and what she did as a part of our family unit still sometimes seem insurmountable. After all, once we were three people working together and sharing the challenges that came our way and now it's me.

True, I still have my daughter by my side and she has shouldered a share of this challenge and responsibility and each day her strength and contributions are more valuable to our family unit. Without this new "family unit" I know my life would be far different and I feel blessed to have her in my life. It is and will always be her choice as to where and how she lives as it was mine.

We work at our relationship; we're not perfect. Grief takes a toll on your health and well being. Not everyone responds or reacts the same and it's important to recognize how differently we can be affected by even the same actions and events. Just like "regular" life and types of situations, surviving major life changes, significant health and/or financial challenges all place weights and measures on individuals and relationships.

We form relationships, we make commitments, we become who we choose to be by the choices we make. We are works in progress from our beginning to our end of days.

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