The Texas Bohemian

Word artist. Jack of all Trades.

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 87.  One year ago today she was facing a quick end to her life and suffering from cancer.  In my archives are the stories of her struggle and the part I played in being her caretaker.

I wasn’t a very good son sometimes.  I didn’t visit enough though I tried to make sure she never needed anything.  We were pretty close.  I called her every day.  It’s those phone calls I miss the most.  At times off and on during the day when I had a thought I’d call her up.  If I built something or came up with a new idea I’d go show her or go bring her here.  She was always complimentary and kind.

My kids loved her dearly.  She loved them, too.

Mom had a long life though I wish it had been longer.  I hope I last as long as she did.  I’m convinced she would have lasted longer had it not been for her local water supply that was terrible and full of toxins that cause the kind of cancer she had.  Woodlawn water killed her, of this I have no doubt whatsoever.  (Our water isn’t any better.  We now have filters.)

When my dad died I crawled into a hole and didn’t come out for over a year.   I took it hard.  Mom, like dad, was a good friend.  Friends are few and far between with me.  It is selfish of me to think “I lost….” as if they lived for me.  But in reality for most of their lives and mine that’s the way I viewed the world–though I would not admit it.  We humans tend to see things as they relate to us.  “Our” wife/husband, “our” kids, “our” parents, like they are there FOR us.  How selfish.

I am sorry, mom and dad, for thinking you were there for me.  I was wrong.

Though it is part of the Christian belief, this idea of serving others, it is not quite so practiced or even understood by Christians.  It wasn’t until I no longer believed in that religion and became a Buddhist that I finally understood what Jesus taught, better said by Buddha, regarding our selfish nature.  (Of course it might have been better said by Jesus but two thousand years of manipulation and “interpretation” changed things.)   I learned my lesson too late to be the son I should have been.

I can say that I learned early enough to be there when mom needed me at last.  I am  happy to have had the time I did with her, difficult as it was, during her last days.  It was those times between trying to keep her in bed and watch nurses and doctors and so forth that I found time to read and contemplate about where I came from and where I need to go.  It was in letting her go that I learned how to let Christianity go too.  Both passed away from me entirely at the same time.

The suffering we have is often self-inflicted.  I caused myself suffering and inadvertently caused mom to suffer because I was possessive of her: “My” mom.  I should have been her son instead.  I was her son at last, though.  After she died I could have let guilt and sorrow drag me into a pit as I did when dad died.  But that is suffering too.  Instead I understood that as Buddha teaches everything is temporary.  There are comings and goings of all things.  Learning to accept this is an end to suffering.

Finally, I could be guilty for not being mom’s son rather than believing she is “my” mom.  I have forgiven myself as I know she forgave me.  That is the nature of love: forgiveness.  This, too, the Buddha teaches, that others are important but we, ourselves, are important too.  If we neglect ourselves we not only cause our own suffering but we cause others to suffer.  Thus I choose to forgive myself.

My mom loved me always and forever.  When I was a child she was not always kind.  Sometimes she was abusive.  I forgave her of that many years ago and loved her in spite of it.  Then she had to learn to forgive me and love me for seeing her as “my” mom and for my not being her son.

Our life on this earth is short and temporary.  It would be much longer and the value of our lives would all be extended, however, if we would all learn a few lessons from Buddha’s wisdom.  The most important lesson we can learn is how not to see other humans as possessions, “my” family, “my” friends, etc.,  and instead see them as valuable beings to whom we should give ourselves.  When we change this single attitude we change the whole world.  Suddenly all those things friends and family do that hurt us no longer sting because we realize  the stings are caused by them not bending to our will.  But why should they?  It is our will that should bend to theirs.  Then they are happy and, after all, is that not what we hope for if they are friends and family?

In turning loose of mom that day last November I learned to turn loose of self.  I watched Christianity fail her and my family.  Buddha’s words did not fail me.  It was the  ultimate test.  The greatest gift mom gave me besides her love was the opportunity to see truth revealed and and in becoming her son I at last found my foundation in Buddha.

Thanks mom.  I know you would not be very happy about my Buddhism but then you always hoped for my happiness more than your own.  I finally understand why.

I miss you and I love you always.

August 9, 2009 - Posted by | Blather, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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