I lost my mother three months ago today. It has been the most painful experience in my life. We were very close, despite living 1100 miles apart. We talked on the phone for hours, several times a week. She knew everything about my life, and she supported me in everything I did. She was always available to call for cooking help, for venting about work, and she was proud of me, of who I became as an adult. I feel like I have lost the one person who knew me best, who asked for nothing and gave me everything. She cheered me on, she cheered me up. She was my personal cheerleader, always reminding me to take care of myself. I am trying to live in a space of Gratitude. So few people are lucky enough to have been that close with their mother, to know that sort of love from another person. I did my best to let her know that I appreciated her while she was still here, and for that, I am also grateful. My Father, my sister and I, were all together with her when her time came, and I am grateful that we were able to be a family for that last week. We did not expect to lose her. She hid a very advanced illness from us as best she could, and while the tendency is to feel guilty that we didn't do or know more, I know that she lived until the end on HER terms, which was very important to her as well. I have had dreams where I spoke with her, and I know in my heart she is okay. I do. But that doesn't always ease the hurt of losing my mother, and my best friend, at the same time. I consider myself spiritual, but it doesn't alleviate the pain of not being able to hear her voice. Of not having all that support in my life anymore. I don't know when it will get any better. It seems like I cry even more now than I used to. And I KNOW that she wouldn't like to see us all so upset all of the time. So, in her Honor, I try to be strong. Her name was Vita Grace, which means graceful life, and I hope to live up to her name, and her example.