Dear Carolyn: My mother died recently. Ours was a complex relationship; due to earlier life traumas and later mental illness, she came across as a cold-hearted perfectionist who was always right. Asking for help or making a mistake was akin to failure. She was also rather closed-minded from a diversity perspective.
Her death has resulted in many mixed feelings on my part. As never before, not even when my father died while I was a child, this experience has allowed for conversations within my own family, including our many imperfections, faith, love and death.
The unexpected part is that I continue to have waves of tears at unpredictable times, even while exercising. (The shower seems to be a constant one, however.)