• Susan L.

The Choices we Make

This February marks eight years since my mother has left this world. She passed away on Leap Day, February 29th, which has always felt strange to me because this day only exists every four years. It still leaves me wondering when to observe her passing on the years in between. Like everything else that had to do with my mother, it is yet one more difficult choice to make.

As the anniversary draws near, I am checking in with myself and getting in touch with my feelings. As I reflect on my mother’s last years, especially the final days, I am still amazed at how much this woman has taught me.

For as far back as I can remember, things were always complicated with us. As mother and daughter, our relationship was wounded, wonderful, tangled, and all together, imperfect. But now that she is gone, I realize this is exactly how our life experience was meant to be.

Our lives consist of many different chapters. We can read each one and continue to the next chapter, or we can close the book and start a whole new story. There is always a choice to make. I will always be grateful that I made the choice to begin a new story with my mother.

When I made the difficult choice to care for both my parents, I had no idea what was in store for me. My father cared for my mother after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and dementia until his health began to fail. As their only daughter, I accepted the role of the family caregiver.

Along with this new responsibility came more choices. Due to the demands of caring for both my parents, I had to give up my career in Health Information Management. As time went on, it was clear that I was no longer the same person I once was. Everything about my life had suddenly changed.

I soon realized that many of my relationships had also changed. I no longer had anything in common with my old friends, and the relationship I had with my brother, my only sibling, became strained. I felt lost in unfamiliar territory, and my life was uncertain.

As my mother’s illness progressed, she became a different person. Dementia had wiped the slate clean. She was able to live in the present moment and leave her dark and troubled past behind. Our relationship slowly evolved, and I suddenly had the mother I always longed for.

She was finally able to accept her life as it was, as well as her fate. Because of the choices we made, we had an opportunity for a second chance that led to peace, love, and forgiveness.

When we choose to accept what we have been given, we learn grace. Life choices are usually never easy, but I always believe that we end up exactly where we need to be.

Our lives are just a series of choices. We make them every single day, starting from the moment we wake up each morning. We choose what mood to be in, what to wear, what to have for dinner. Our life plans don’t always turn out the way we think. It’s those choices we make along the way that determines our future and leads us to our destiny.

Warmest wishes!