Recently I was back in New York to spend some time with my mom. She reached a milestone in Sep 2019 when she turned 100 years old. We had a party for her and it was an amazing event. People came from as far away as Hawaii, Florida, and Colorado. She is doing great, but she had fallen a couple of times recently and I wanted to spend some time with her to see how she really was doing. One of the things she wanted to take care of while I was there was her funeral arrangements. I guess when you hit 100 you realize you might not have much time left.
Now my mom is tiny, about 4’6’ and weighing in at, well, let’s just say south of 90 pounds. But she is feisty, and I didn’t realize just how feisty she was. I made an appointment at the local funeral home and took my mom up to make arrangements. She picked out a coffin and then began talking about the services, etc. and the assistant asked if she’d like an open casket viewing. My mom replied “Of course, I want everyone to come by and tell me how beautiful I look”. I was a little shocked, but she had a sly smile on her face and I knew she was having some fun with the attendant. I had never seen that kind of wittiness and playfulness from her the entire time I knew her. She was having fun taking care of funeral arrangements – how weird!!
When the total price came in, let’s just say it was north of 10K and she looked over and asked “am I worth it?” to which I replied “every cent and more”. Now it was her turn to be shocked. She said “really” and I replied “of course you’re worth it”. She was genuinely touched that someone would validate her worth.
Watching her that day blessed my heart so much, but as I reflect back on it, I’m somewhat saddened that there was a part of her that I never got to know because she kept it hidden as she was raising her four sons. Life has been hard for her, losing my oldest brother to post-surgical complications when he was 48. Losing my dad five years later and being on her own now for 24 years. But there was still a spark of playfulness as she dealt with something that is usually somber and full of pain.
The experience caused me to reflect and ask myself if I “hold back” any part of me that would benefit others. What about you? Is there something that’s part of who you are at a deeper level that you need to share with friends or family that would be uplifting or rewarding to them?