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Diana's Sunflower

Diana’s Sunflower

My goddaughter knows of my love for sunflowers so she made me one out of clay. Last time she made me something out of clay I dropped and it broke, then I lost some of the pieces. I felt bad. So this time I was intent on not breaking it. I painted this craft box of white, and then glued some plastic tiles on and around it. Then I glued the sunflower on top. It is a bit childish, but so am I, so I love it!

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“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – Aristotle

Lately my Mom has angry moments, angry days.  She is angry at friends, at situations, at the weather. It seems she is angry at the world!

I don’t like it. I want to take her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. I want her to realize how blessed she is. I want her to realize that being angry doesn’t help. Anger only poisons everything around. Anger corrodes happiness.

I can never tell her like it is. Everything is sugar-coated, always walking on egg-shells around her. My Mom is pampered. My siblings and I would and do everything for her. We never challenged my mother, we mostly agree. It seems too late to change the dynamic.

I think I know her anger though. My mom is 80 years old. She has amazing energy and looks more like 60 than 80. She can run circles around a 25 year old. But lately there are some days when she feels age creeping in. Since she fell ill a year ago, things have not been the same.

Her anger is from a body giving in when the soul is just waking up. It is from so many dreams and so little time. It is from a world of opportunities a tad too late. It is from a nameless frustration from pains too painful to deal with.  It is from fear of forgetting, is from fear of depending.

“He continued to see inevitable events from the past as avoidable, long after they’d taken their course.”  – Hugh Howey

Combine that with a painful, poor and hard childhood that she still carries around and every now and then mentions it but doesn’t free it.  As she ages and she shrinks, her shrinkage is as much from time as it is from the burden that she stubbornly carries. Such is my mother’s story, unable to pacify the child within.

Now that my 50th birthday is looming I begin to understand her frustration. Time is running out. The reality of the finite is unforgiving. A weakening body that seems to be slowing down too fast is scary.

What can I do when Mom gets angry for no reason? When she makes a mountain out of a molehill? Absolutely nothing! She will not change not matter how much I want her to. Trying to point out the obvious hasn’t worked. So I will try to change instead, in as much as I can.

Now I choose acceptance and respect.  I no longer get angry that she is angry.  I respect her right to be angry when she wants to. Why must she bottle up her anger because of my discomfort?

In my book my mother has earned the right to be angry when she wants to.  I will continue to love and pamper my Mom no matter how angry she gets.  I think love is stronger than anger, so I will always choose love.

In learning to accept my mother’s right to be angry, I am learning to accept everyone’s right to be angry, including my own!  My mom continues to teach me incredible lessons even if she doesn’t realize.

I know that everything passes. Everything has an end.  Thinking of my mother as finite terrifies me and it also helps me to love, accept and respect.

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” – John Barrymore

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