Loss and Motivation

Friheden [Freedom]

by Rasmus Rasmussen on June 8, 2011

Have you ever suffered the loss of someone close to you? On Mother’s Day 2011, my own mother passed away at the much too young age of 63, another victim of cancer. Overnight, I aged 20 years. I’ve felt sick ever since, almost like a mild but constant hangover. I’ve had my sessions of self-pity, guilt, anger and all the other emotions stirred up by this blow to the very foundation of my being. But I have also found inspiration and motivation in unexpected ways.

My mother’s passing gave me a sense of urgency I didn’t have before. It’s a harsh reminder that time is short, and we all better make the most of it while we can. She did, in her own way. She had a small store where she sold odd things from old handbags and vintage toys to Buddha statues. She traveled a lot and loved culture, spirituality and people. She had four children and a good life. Her death made me look at my own life, not just the individual accomplishments and failures, but the bigger picture.

I’ve seen it before in others who have lost and in the end grown from the experience. Maybe it’s part of the process, like the change in priorities that happen when parents have their first child. I felt motivated to dive into textbooks, to learn and grow and do things I had always wanted to do but were afraid to. Like make movies. Not just as an escape from the grief, though I’m sure that plays in too, but also to honor my mother. After all, she brought me into this world and the least I can do is not waste that gift.

I am a firm believer in looking for the good in every experience, and if possible taking that thing to heart and letting it inspire you. It’s not an easy process. I’m still partially in shock, finding it hard to focus for longer periods of time, needing to shut off completely – a lot – and just be. Several times a day, I drift off into a mental no man’s land. But when present and thinking clearly, I spend most of my time studying. The grieving process is not over, but ever so slowly life goes on.

About the photo: I had no picture of my mother appropriate for these words, so I chose a snapshot of the train station in Denmark I would get off at, whenever I went to visit her. It’s a suburb to Copenhagen called Friheden which translates into “The Freedom”. I shot this on my last trip to see her.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica Sopher June 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

Dear Ras – Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings in this beautiful post, and for the reminders. I hope you find comfort in your new studies. Hugs.

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myron June 8, 2011 at 11:58 am

Hey Rasmus, I feel for you, I do. And at the same time I have to admit that I don´t really know how to feel that. I don´t, instead I feel a dread of that moment and also a current lingering feeling of loss.

I know we will all lose our parents at some point. Some early and prematurely, like you, others suddenly and unexpected and others will see the long end that time has in store for our aging folks like ripe old healthy age; some of them finding that peace gracefully, some not so gracefully and some kicking and screaming and unfairly confused.

I would like to think that my parents will find their ends well, normal and the way nature intended them to go but no, it won´t be like that, not at all. One of them is kept alive (should be dead several times over) by technological gizmos that kick-start organs that should be left to decay and whither, the result of lifelong food abuse and careless indulgences, the other wasting away in the incomprehensible no-mans-land of the mysterious Mr. Alzheimers and his crazy sidekick, the demented Miss Dementia. In a sense both have been lost already but don´t know it, well one doesn´t. And I have not yet made peace with Mr. Gizmo … facing that demon takes guts and no mask.

You are so right that life is too short, even if it pulls us up short with the heart breaking loss of one who gave us life. Live it like it is the best thing ever, because for all we know now, it is :)

Remember the love and what that special someone would want you to do. Like I said, I don´t really know what to feel yet … but damned it, live your life and honor theirs/hers. She loves you still.

peace, m

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