2 years have passed since my mother, Nancy, died of cancer. We had our differences, and we had a lot of distance between us for most of my life, but her death marked a profound change in my life that I've never really mentioned. My brother and I were there at her bedside many nights in the last few months of her life, talking, or reading, or watching TV together. Slowly, she lost her energy. She eventually would barely wake up, and when she did she couldn't make sense of what was going on around her anymore. People who haven't witnessed slow degenerative death seem to have a misconception that death from illness is peaceful and quiet and quick. It rarely is. Being 21 years old and caring for a parent while they slowly slip away is one of those things that just changes you. It forces you to grow up. Here I am, two short years later, living and working in Washington D.C., breaking out of my former shyness. My life has changed drastically from where I was. I kind of feel like the growing up experience was my mom's "final gift."
Check out my eulogy, here.