Ladies, are you becoming your mother? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I look almost exactly like my mother- she died almost 12 years ago, but occasionally when I look in the mirror there's a big WTF moment. Going to my family's church or family reunions is often a bit interesting, as everyone with Alzheimer's think that I am actually my mom, so there are tears when they think that she's not dead, or tears because they miss her.

I don't think that I'll ever be the person she was- she was very special, to say the least. Lived through a lot of unhappy times when she was younger, broke some molds (first woman in her town to go to college), did a lot of charity work, and then, later in life, checked out from 'social' obligations and pretty much became a hiking hippie. A memorable moment was when she asked me to teach her how to smoke a joint (even before the chemo). As a nurse she reorganized the local ER in a more sane way, and as a cancer patient, outlived her first 'death date' as a malignant melanoma patient for almost 15 years. She spearheaded her church women's group in Canada to provide support for Vietnamese "Boat People" in the 70s, to sponsor refugees from South America, and to support the idea of 'women priests'. Her funeral was so heavily attended that the local fire department wanted to stop people from attending, until the hospital pretty much gave them the FU sign.

We didn't always get along- we each made choices that the other didn't agree with, and we certainly had our differences over the years. But when push came to shove, she was always there for me, and I think that I was there for her.

I do some things differently than she did. She had a much more restrictive upbringing than I did, and I grew up knowing that I had more options than she did. I'm also a bit less hung up on 'appearances' and 'social roles' than she was- because she'd done so many things, I thought less in terms of barriers, and more in terms of opportunities. I didn't get to know my mom as a friend and an interesting person until I was in my late 20s, and I think that she'd be proud and happy about the relationship that I have with my kids.

I miss her so much. She wasn't perfect, but I'm not either. Even so many years after her death, when I run into people who had contact with her, they share their memories and express their grief. I know that my kids and family will miss me when I die, but I doubt if they'll have random strangers on the street coming up to them saying "I loved kimmature".

I'm off to the family farm tomorrow for Boxing Day, so I know that it will be bittersweet. It is pretty great- our family gets together on Boxing Day and on the last weekend in June, so there's some continuity going on.

A few of my great-great aunts and uncles are on their way out and not that clear in their memories, so they'll want to hold my hand, and call me Joan. And then my brother and my Dad and my aunts and my cousins will give me hugs, and remind me of who I am, and who she was, and life will go on.

/r/TwoXChromosomes Thread