The first, helping my first-born apply to colleges and stay on track academically, ended by choice. If you're the parent of a child who struggles mightily with life, you'll understand the stress of that undertaking.
It was my daughter's decision that my involvement end, and I agreed. The time had come for her to flop or fly on her own. As of this month, I'm giving her the space she desires and hoping she'll find her way to a fulfilling life beyond home. The outcome remains to be seen.
The second milestone of 2017, was the passing of my mother.
In 2000, just after the above-mentioned daughter was born, Mom started showing signs of short-term memory loss.
By 2004, she could no longer remember who my (then four-year-old) daughter was.
By 2007, Mom couldn't remember my name.
By 2009, Mom couldn't remember that her parents were long-dead, or recognize the home she'd lived in for thirty-five years. She was frequently sad, worried about getting "home" and letting her parents know where she was.
By 2010, Mom was unable to comprehend photos, and instead started seeing things that weren't there. She'd reach into thin air and explain that her father had brought "this" home for her.
By 2014, she was bed-ridden, and very rarely responded to any touch, sight, or sound. All she could do was chew and swallow the food hand-fed to her.
After 4+ years in a near-vegetative state, Mom developed a cough, an infection, and then finally stopped being able to chew and swallow food. She died on December 27th, 2017.
Am I sad, or happy?
The loving, wonderful mother I knew, was lost about a decade ago. I partially-grieved every moment and memory we couldn't share. But I chided myself then too, for grieving a mother whose hand I could still hold, whose forehead I could still kiss. Now, her soul is no longer imprisoned by Alzheimer's, and I can finally say goodbye.
So am I sad or happy?
My first-born came into the world just as my mother started a long, brutal journey away from it. Now Mom has gone, just as my first-born starts a journey into adult life.
I wish them both peace and joy.