My mom thought I should know she was proud of me without her having to tell me. It was a point of contention between us.
To be fair, her mother used the word “proud” in a way Mom felt was condescending and braggadocios. I know why she didn’t like the word.
I, on the other hand, craved those precious moments when my mom would look at me and say, “I’m proud of you.” It didn’t happen often, and liquid gold poured warm through my insides every time she said them.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, there was no question that I would be her companion through the journey. This was not about seeking approval or praise, it was about spending every moment I could with my best friend.
My mom lived with cancer for two years before the disease finally overwhelmed her body.
In was about 36 hours before her final passing and Mom was no longer really with us – her heart was still beating and her lungs were still breathing, but her spirit had checked out.
Despite that, she was writhing and moaning. It seemed like she was suffering and I felt helpless to do anything to make it better. All I could do was hold her hand and talk to her.
“I know how hard this is Mom, but it will be over soon. You’re doing a really good job. I’m so proud of you.”
While I prayed that she heard the words on some level, they were as much to soothe myself as they were for her.
And then all of a sudden, she stopped moaning and writhing and she pulled herself back into her body. And for the first time in more than a day, she spoke with great clarity.
“YOU’RE doing such a good job. I’m so proud of YOU.”
And then she was disappeared again.
Those were the last words I ever heard my mother speak: that she was proud of me.
16 months later, as I was on the verge of making some major life changes, I got an email from a dear friend who is a psychic.
“Proud!!!” read the subject line.
“I am so proud of you and what you are doing. You inspire me. And I love you!” read the message.
Everything about the email surprised me – it’s not the usual tenor of our communications, but I was pleased to receive it nonetheless.
Two minutes later, another message arrived from the same friend.
“Weird!” read the subject line.
“I got to my computer and found myself writing you an e-mail and when I sent it, it was like waking up out of a fog – and I realized that it was your mom sending you good luck wishes!”
My mom had a hard time saying the words in life, but she’s doing a bang-up job of letting me know that she’s proud of me from the other side.