I was 16 when I lost the first person of great personal relevance to me - alright, it was Kurt Cobain and I was under the influence of great angst and the grunge movement - true, I had experienced the loss of my grandparents prior to Kurt's suicide, but those deaths were easier to reconcile with the natural course of life and the truth of mortality. Kurt's death was different, it was very personal to me and, combined with natural 16 year old self-involvement, directed me into a major period of introspection and grief (not that I needed any help, being naturally prone to a kind of introversion bordering on reclusivity and agoraphobia).
During this time I came to believe that every individual is on this earth, in this particular lifetime, to learn a series of lessons or skills and that when these lessons are learned, these skills acquired, it is time to say goodbye to this life and head on back to the afterlife.
Sure, this might certainly be a rationalization for the loss of a life like Kurt Cobain's, young, talented, troubled and so very wasted. However, the loss of others since that time have only strengthened my belief in this cycle of reincarnation and the loss of my mother now has cemented it.
There is no way I can begin to accept my loss without this.
My mother's death has added one more component to my own understanding of life and death. My mother died in exactly the way she wanted; she did not grow old, she did get sick, she did not suffer. She passed quickly and relatively peacefully (as peaceful for her as it is difficult for us).
I have to believe that that's because she was a person whose soul has seen many lives, has learned many lessons and acquired many skills and because of that she get to choose her exit from this world.
I don't think I'll get to choose this time around but I hope that I am wise enough to accept all the lessons my mother tried to pass on to me because I know she had a lot to teach.