Rosalie Dorothy Wilcox

by Rose Anne Wilcox

I am Rosalie’s oldest daughter, Rose Anne. I was a difficult child for my mother. You know how some children can have
personalities you inherently understand, some are a mixture, and some kids you
just can’t understand. My mom found it
difficult to understand me and I found it difficult to understand her.

Because of that, when I was a child, I didn’t realize that
she loved me. It wasn’t until I grew up
and had a child of my own that I realized that all the work she did for us
proved she loved us. Raising six
children is hard work and for Mom, work showed love more than words did.

I grew up to be a difficult young woman, too. I was full of anger and this anger made walls
all around me that I didn’t even know I had. I was also a taker. I felt the world
owed me something for all the pain I was in. In spite of my many problems, my Mom was always there for me in many
practical ways.

My mother as I grew up showed me a model of a woman who was
always growing and changing. Although,
in my pain, I made a lot of mistakes, there was also a part of me that reached
for solutions, a part who wanted to grow and to change. During this process of growth I was helped by
a lot of people and by a power greater than myself. I lost a lot of my anger and my walls.

A sister who will remain nameless (Christine) encouraged me
during this time to become friends with my Mom in spite of my hurt feelings of
the past. I am so grateful that I
listened to her and reached out to my Mom during this healing time.

My Mom and I became friends and I got to help her out in
small ways, instead of always taking. At
first all I could do was come up and visit and take her out to dinner instead
of just letting her provide all the food.

She enjoyed getting these small gifts from me, I knew, but
then again she enjoyed giving even more. One time we went out to a Prescott art show and I insisted on buying her two wooden deer to hang up on her
walls. She snuck back later and bought
me a picture I had admired. That was how
Mom was; she loved to give to us and to surprise us in thoughtful ways.

When Mom moved to California
I was devastated. I had just gotten her back and then she moved. However, I found still could fly to visit her
and take her out to dinner and enjoy our friendship.

When the Cancer diagnosis came, it was also
devastating. I realized how much I still
relied on her for and that I was going to have to finish growing up finally, in
late-early-middle-early middle age. However,
it also gave me more chances to be of service to her. That is one of the gifts that we can give our
family at the end, is the gift of allowing them to be of service. My mother was always the giving one so this
gift was particularly difficult for her.

I also got the chance to tell Mom I forgave her. This was particularly hard because my Mom did
not like scenes or a lot of emotion. I
knew I had limited time to say this, so a couple of years ago when we had a
moment alone, I told her, “Mom, for whatever there may be TO forgive, I forgive
you.” She looked at me a little afraid
there was going to be more, but I stopped. And I knew she understood what I was saying and I never had to bring up
any of it again. Forgiveness was complete.

When she was passing, she decided to give us the files that
she had collected on us, containing clippings, awards, diplomas, report cards
and the like. When I was handed my file,
it was quite slim. For a moment, the old
disappointment almost came back. Then I
took a deep breath and looked inside.

What I found was an old email that I wrote on Thanksgiving
2001. This was just two months after the Cancer diagnosis. In it I wrote that I was thankful for my
mother. There followed a long and
detailed list of specific examples of all my mother had given to me over the
years, along with profuse thanks. I went
over to her and happily told her what was in the file. I noticed she looked a little panic-y like
she had during the little “Forgiveness” episode so I hastily said, “But I’m not
going to read them all to you and make you cry!” She said, “Thank you…!”

Then as I held the slender file in my hands it hit me. Not only had I forgiven my Mom, I had also
BEEN forgiven.

When I got back to Arizona,
my boyfriend’s Mom handed me a little gift for Valentine’s Day and in it was a
quote. The quote said, “To forgive is to
regain a lost possession.” My mother and
I lost each other, but we found each other again. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

People say that when someone is dying, their eyes glaze
over, and that is when they see into the next world. When we were with Mom at the end at one point
her eyes glazed over and she looked a point above my head. She said, in wonder, “Look at all the
beautiful roses!” At first we thought
she meant the roses that were gifts from her grandchildren but they were over
to the right. Then we thought maybe she
meant my daughter and me, both named Rose, after her, but that didn’t seem to
be it either. I like to think that my
mother caught a glimpse of her destination in the next world.

So Mom, enjoy the Roses in heaven.  Thanks for forgiving, thanks for giving, and thanks for letting us give a
little back to you. I love you, I miss
you, and I hope to see you again some day on the other side.

-February 17, 2007

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