You will never imagine the change that occurs to your family or your outlook on life when you lose someone precious to you. My mother passed away almost one year ago and my personal life has been turned upside down. Everything is different. If it weren't for my husband I think I would have completely lost it. His mother passed away in much the same way as mine but two years earlier. They were very close and I have never met a more understanding man in my life.
All of my relationships are different. My father was always very emotionally distant and judgmental when I was growing up but he has become someone I can talk to (although not as close as Mom and I were) and I have more of a relationship with him at 42 than I ever had before. I have one sibling, my younger sister. I feel like what we have been through in the past year has had an adverse affect on the two of us. I feel a distant there that I never felt before. We had very different relationships with Mom and it has affected us very differently, I think.
Since the loss of my mother I feel like I don't belong to my family anymore - and I can't explain why that is. She was one of my best friends and now she is gone. She was the one I spoke to for at least an hour every day. We went out for lunch together, got our nails done, and she was incredibly patient with all my step-drama conversations. I saw her flaws and her quirks and how her illness affected her personality and physiology - and I learned to accept who she was. I will honestly say that I hated her when I was a teenager. She was overemotional, controlling, and extremely critical - the last thing a 17 year old girl wants in her life. I am so blessed that we got past that and were able to have a close relationship when I had my own family.
Still, I mourn the changes in my family. Holidays are brutal to get through. It is tough to adjust your family expectations, roles and dynamics after four decades. You just can't imagine how emotionally exhausting it can be at times - especially during birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Sometimes it's nice to have a "fresh start" but other times I just want to run away.