Death separates us from the ones we love. It also reunites those who have been apart.
There’s a beautiful and historic district in the city of Rome, Georgia. Between the Rivers is an area surrounded by the Etowah, Oostanaula, and Coosa rivers. Here, in 1834, the city was founded as an industrial and business hub. Here these three bodies of water merged, greet each other and depart back in different directions.
I chose Rome to reconnect with my mother. You see, even when we have a good relationship with our parents, sometimes there’s a missing link. For forty-three years, we mostly connected by memories, words, and short visits since I moved from my country. Threading her life around my father’s, we’ve never had that one on one time to strengthen mother-daughter bonds. All relationships need time and attention. We couldn’t say we knew each other. It would take almost half a century for this to happen.
Walking down the district, we were able to share stories, some of them unknown to me. Together we crossed streets laughing like teens. She would occasionally get lost in time reliving her life with my father. While enjoying lunch she would share some motherly advice. Riding down the roads, she would let me know how proud she is of the woman I’ve become. Listening to her, I started thinking about our life’s cycles and all the things we do but need to stop doing if we want to live in peace with ourselves.
1. Stop bringing the past to your present.
2. Stop trying to understand people’s attitudes and behavior.
3. Stop being the rock you stumble upon.
4. Stop holding grudges and resentments.
5. Stop holding yourself responsible for others.
6. Stop thinking there’s no hope to change and make your life better.
Every person has a story. My mother created hers and I weaved mine in the opposite direction. During the six weeks we spent together after my father's passing, we turned into those rivers, sharing a riverbed, flowing towards different oceans but always coming back together to replenish and exchange our life force.
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."
~ Norman Maclean~