The Experiment: Day 51 ~ “Every Day’s A Good Day, It Is What You Make It.” My Mother, As She Was Dying…

Today is a good day, that’s what I’m calling it anyway, as I pull myself up from being a little down, and remember my mother’s words. She died in December 2009 after having battled cancer, Multiple Myeloma, for 5 years. She was 83 years old. It had been a long, painful, grueling battle and she suffered greatly in so many ways but her faith and her positive attitude saw her through to the end. When we talked she repeated that phrase to me often, “Every day’s a good day, it is what you make it.”

Mom got up every day, even when she was going through the worst days, and made her bead, got dressed, put on her makeup. Even the last years when she had gone blind and couldn’t drive anymore and had nowhere to go, she got up and put herself together. She said her rosary, she visited with my aunt who lived just above her and would come down the back stairs into her kitchen for coffee, the sisters spent most of their days together, she listened to her radio, the Catholic station, she visited with the many friends who came to see her. She had traveled the world and now could no longer leave her home except to be driven to church, or the beauty shop, or rare outings. She was in terrible pain and for the last 2 years of her life had to go to the hospital weekly for transfusions of blood and platelets. How she faced it I do not know.

Sometimes mom would call me from her cell phone, which she barely knew how to use, when she was at the hospital hooked up for the transfusions, and we would talk. It helped her get through the treatments, but she never complained, she said everything was going well, even as she was dying, even into the last weeks as she didn’t leave her bed and was surrounded by family and friends until the end. My mother and I made our peace in those last weeks as she lay dying. It was one of the hardest, saddest times of my life. We had been estranged for much of my adult life, and when we weren’t it was still very difficult. I was very unwell mentally when she died and could not travel to Illinois to be with her or for her funeral. They were difficult, painful days. But after a lifetime of difficulties she softened as she was dying, as so many do, and there was an opening, a kind of miracle, and we told each other how much we loved each other, and talked daily until she could no more. It was a time of great sadness for everyone around her. She was beloved by many, but our life together had been very hard, and few have ever understood.

I was in awe of her as she lay dying. She would talk to me, softly, when she was in that place between worlds, still alive but with one foot over the bridge to the other side. She talked to me about the people who visited her and talked to her everyday — these were people who had longsince been dead — she had very detailed conversations with them. She was not afraid to die. Her visitations with the dead were every bit as real as the ones with the living who surrounded her. I learned so much watching my mother die, and when she was gone I was bereft. I still dream about her frequently. My dreams are the ones of a little girl who just wanted to be loved, who was being abused, and whose mother was critical and cruel. In my dreams she would always come to love me. In my waking moments I ached. But she left me a legacy in her dying words, “Every day’s a good day, it is what you make it.”

And so today as I have felt a little lost, with an aura of sadness around me, I think of my mother. I am not sick or suffering physically, I am alive and well and though my circumstances have changed very much these last few years, and things are harder, and scarier for me financially and in other ways, I am deeply blessed with many gifts in my life, and I can see now, from this place on the living earth, over the divide we cannot see or understand, that my mother is well, and at peace, and happy where she is, and perhaps now I can be healed through the words that she left me, and I can do my best, on these days that aren’t easy, by making today the best day that I can.

Today darling Eleanor is coming over to help me in the house. And tonight I am going to Rachel’s for dinner and will love seeing my grandson and son-in-law too. The rest of the day I am holding each moment in my hand gently like my mother held her rosary beads. I am praying my way through the day. I am praying that I might see slivers of light and find a way to some kind of peace and contentment on this, one of the harder days, which will surely come. There is good in every day. I must seek it, and find it, and hold onto it. It may be brief moments. It will be enough.

I hope you are well wherever you are, I hope if this is one of the harder days for you you will find something that comforts you, and I hope that we both can see and believe what my mother taught me, that every day truly is a good day, that we have it in our power to make it so, even in small ways. I hope that we can find a way to make every day a good day, in some way. I believe it is possible. My mother taught me this and it’s what I have left of her. Her words as she died were the legacy she left me, and I have worked hard to try to let go of the rest. I hope I will one day leave my children something as powerful when my time on this earth is up.

Until then I forge ahead through the days, and though I don’t yet know how I do know that this day is a good day. I will find a way to make it so.


The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”

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  1. Dear Maitri, Your words are so beautiful. I so enjoy reading your thoughts and feelings. That was a nice tribute to your mother and I don’t see how she was able to do what she did either. I like how you wrote about how your mother was able to communicate with those who had passed over too. I find that so interesting.
    I hope the rest of your day feels softer and more comfortable. I know these days too.
    Much Love, Jean

    • Thank you so much dear Jean, and yes, it is a weary sort of day. I let my daughter know I wasn’t up to coming tonight and that’s something I would rarely ever cancel but I just don’t feel well. Sometimes a cold November day can kind of go through one. And of course this, too, will pass. And thank you so much for your kind words about this piece. It was not an easy one to write and I surely hoped I had done my mother justice. We didn’t have an easy time in our life together, but I loved her, and in the end that’s all that matters. And she passed this thought on to me, and I treasure it. A gift at the end. I am grateful…

  2. May you have a comforted evening at home with your pugs Maitri and may your peace of mind be restored.

    • Thanks Joan honey. I am just getting ready to curl up with them and watch a movie. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend… 🙂

  3. Sending hugs and wishes for many “good days” for you. x

  4. Peace, hope, beauty and determination thread through your words. You have learned so much in your years on the planet. Your sharing of it gives comfort and courage.

    • Thank you so much Cathryn, that means so much to me. It is lovely to see you here. And if I am able to give comfort and courage through my writing then I am deeply blessed. I hope all is well with you honey…

  5. My mother passed away 24 years ago last month and I miss her every day. We lived 1000 miles apart but I would call her every week. She’d be astonished today to learn how much of her genealogy I have. I truly miss her.

    • Oh Marge, we are touched by our mothers forever, are we not? I’m so sorry for your loss all those years ago. It never really leaves us, does it? But I bet she would be so proud of all you have done, and I like to think she is smiling down at you from heaven. May the beautiful memories stay with us always…

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