My Mother died on March 22nd, 2008. It should have been a traumatic event I suppose. I was even saddened a little. The fact is I had only spoken to her a handful of times in the previous 23 years. I moved away from home when I was 17 - the day after my last high school exam- did not attend graduation and some weeks later managed to get the school to mail a copy of my diploma to me as I had moved 2 states away. The biggest headache when I moved was that I was not able to pay a speeding ticket I had got a few months after I moved because it required a parents signature since I was under 18 so I blew it off until I turned 18 and then paid the late fine as well. Across the next 20 years I sent a card when I got married, and when my children were born and there were half dozen of phone calls - 1 every few years. My sister had called or written a couple more times than that - asking for money in some small way or another and I sent with a note saying no more sometimes. Sister tracked down my number when Mother got diagnosed with cancer and I called her to say hello. Mother asked if she could come visit and I said yes if she wanted to meet the grand kids she could. She died 3 weeks later before that ever came about. I drove up when they called saying she was in hospital and would not make through the weekend. I was an hour late getting there but she had not been conscious in some time so no real matter. I stayed a day and half and saw/talked to family I had not seen or spoken to in 20+ years - remembered why I left clearly. Before I left I I wrote out check to buy a cemetery plot and a large check for paying for the funeral as that was the only topic of discussion. I figured she foot the bill for having me and least I could do was pay for burying her as nobody else in family had ever managed to plan ahead for such things. Then I left , several days before memorial/funeral. I do want to thank her now though. Without her and my family I would not be who I am now. If a parents job is to teach somebody to be self sufficient and to stand on their own then she gets high marks on that one. She made me a better parent - all need to do in times of doubt as a parent is ask what my mother did and choose something different. I would like to say I wish that things had been different - but the simple fact is I do not. My loved and lost is simple - I love the way my personal family has come out and that is ample repayment for the time I lost in my own family- I would not exchange that for the world.