Distillation is the process of separating mixtures. As opposed to the process of reduction in cooking where the whole is cooked slowly and only moisture is removed, in distillation it is the impurities which are removed from a substance, as from water or crude oil.
Visiting with my mother this weekend, it became entirely clear to me that she has become a nearly distilled version of the person I grew up with. After almost 86 years, she has thrown off most of the anger, frustration, ego, guilt, exclusivity, and grudges she clung to so tightly, and now she sits with a distilled essence of herself that only occasionally punctured the complicated cell that held her so rigidly as I was growing up. How awesome to grow so old and so compassionate, so inclusive and so non-judgmental, so loving. This is not my mother and yet she is my mother. She has become the mother whom I wished I always had and yet was always there. Somehow being physically compromised has helped her to detach not only from her physical body, but also from all those other habitual cycles which locked and trapped her in powerlessness, depression, and rage.
She has created a sense of peace and resolution with most of her demons and it has given me hope that I can constructively deal with my own demons as well. Especially because she used to be one of them.