I started this idea 6 months ago on the way to the hospital as I got out of my car and walked. At the time my mother was very sick and clearly was there to die. She would not be getting better and we all knew that. At that time, when she was still sick we didn't know then that it would end as it did last week with my dad dying as he did and us connecting in the weeks shortly before he died.
My family has never been close, for a variety of reasons, mainly due to the general nature of who we are and compounded by the way our lives went as young children.
Even though my mother, father and sister each only lived a few miles from me, we could go a year or two without speaking or seeing each other.
Since I was an adult, that's just how it has gone.
Back in October 2009, my sister contacted me to tell me my mother was in the hospital and she was very ill. Now, I had to take that with a grain of salt, as my mother was "very sick" many times in her life.
But this time, she actually was. It appeared she had a stroke, and there were severe stomach and health issues that came from that.
During this time, I started to see my mother more, and in the process converse with my sister quite a bit.
As the months dragged on and it was almost Christmas, my father reappeared. I nor anyone else in the family had seen him in about 6 or 7 years, and there were many long gaps in our lives where he just vanished and could not be found.
This time however, he was much older and was also quite sick (ly). My father had always been the tower of strength, the mans man, the guy nobody would mess with because he was tough and fearless.
My parents had not had a good marriage or a good ending to it. That was 23 years ago, and as my father reappeared on the scene, he did what he could to give my mother whatever he could. It was important to both of them that all of us reconnected as a family, although at the time we didn't know that within 12 months they both would be gone.
Back in July, as my mother got sicker and sicker and it was evident she would not make it, I began to think that there were some good things coming out of this terrible disease (brain cancer) that she was stricken with.
I knew i then that there was some good things coming out of that tragedy, and began to think about writing this blog, but i still wasn't sure what those were.
At the time, one of the great things to come about indirectly was my joining facebook.
Because of my mothers illness, I had come back into contact with many of my relatives who I hadn't seen in years. One was my cousin Stuart, and one night we headed out for a few drinks with some old friends. As the night progressed, many talked of how they were on facebook, and while I had an account, I had never used it. So that night as I went home, i began to explore and decided to give it a try.
As time went on, I reconnected with many of my old friends and made some very good new ones. To this day I can say that facebook has changed my life, much for the better. The great people i have met on it I never would have had a chance to meet had it not been for the circumstances of my mothers illness.
Of course, no amount of gain takes away from the hurt that you get when you see your mother wither away and die day after day. No gain is worth that. It is definitely not a good thing. Its a very bad thing. But many good things came from that, and i think partly that her illness and death was purposeful in starting a chain of events which ended last week when my dad got sick suddenly and passed away.
Was it a good thing that my mother had to suffer and die. NO.
But from that terrible thing came something that never would have happened otherwise. We got to have a better ending with my father and see him in good times before he passed away. If my mother had not gotten sick then that never would have happened.
That is a good thing.
Its something my mother would have been happy to have happen, and if its possible, she would be smiling knowing that the ending with my father was better than had ever been expected and that she played a huge part in that.
My parents did something in their deaths that they could never be achieved in life, they brought the family together..In peace.
That is their legacy now, as they have left this earth to us, the living, to carry on.