I missed my Mom today. I think it’s the first time I’ve genuinely missed her since she died six months ago. That probably sounds harsh. Let me explain…

The last few years of her life she became unbearably anti-social, a kind of demonic version of herself. Despite innumerable MRIs, brain scans, and psychiatric evaluations, none of a litany of doctors and specialists ever managed to diagnose her illness.

Of course, we all knew there was something tragically wrong with her brain. And yet, it’s hard to be charitable when someone literally and metaphorically spits in your face. Gradually, brick by brick, I built a wall around my feelings for her.

When she died I felt only relief that her suffering had finally ended. But as time went by, the wall began to crumble. Until today, when I caught myself wishing I could call her. And just like that, I realized the wall was gone.

I think there’s a lesson here. When someone behaves in a way that sabotages their own self-interest and alienates everyone around them, whether due to mental illness, or disease, or addiction, or abuse, there’s usually a valid reason. And yet, even knowing the source of their struggle, as I did with my Mom, it’s hard to see through a wall.

I have no easy answers and I’m no one’s role model but I’m going to try to spend less time in the construction business.