Monday, February 18, 2008

In Loving Memory

Today is The Day. It's now been 33 years since my mother died.


Thirty-three years is a very, very long time.

I think that instead of writing my feelings about my mother, I am going to write about my feelings as a mother.

When I was pregnant and found out that I was going to have a daughter, I had more than one person express their opinion to me that they thought my having a girl was going to be a very healing experience for me. That just having a daughter was going to somehow, magically, make all of the pain of losing my own mother, disappear.

Boy, talk about pressure.

Like, I'm supposed to be "healed" of all my grief because of the birth of this little girl? I'm supposed to find some kind of resolution with her mere existence? Being a mother to my son isn't supposed to be "enough" - I have to somehow recreate some kind of relationship, or scenario??

I'm at a loss for words, and when people have said the whole, "I imagine it will be very healing for you" crap, I just go along and act touched, and understanding, when in actuality, it kind of makes me sick. Maybe because I actually want - deep down inside - for them to be right. That having a daughter of my own will transcend all the heartache I've felt over the last 33 years. All the years of pain and wanting. Reaching for something that is no longer there. Having a mother-connection to another woman - being able to look at her and see myself - I've never had that.

I have had several other women relate to me that they "feel" as though they are also motherless daughters. As if they could completely relate to my situation. To my grief. Thank you for trying, but what you are actually doing is quite offensive. Because the fact is, your mother *isn't* dead. You haven't grown up wondering what she is like. You know her - you may not particularly like what she is - but as least you know her. And there's always the possibility - no matter how remote - that something could change. That the living relationship will evolve and blossom into something more recognizable. I, on the other hand, will never, NEVER have that opportunity. My mother IS dead. No "it's as if she's dead" - she IS. She's in the ground. Gone.

Truly, I have lived both ways. I have survived two calamities. I have lived with a woman who I yearned would be a proper mother figure to me. One who I hoped would love me and want me - but who made it perfectly clear day after day that SHE DID NOT. I suffered profound abuse at her hand. (It's tragic that her sons will never accept this fact - but they were either not around when it happened, or still too small. My dad...well, that's a whole other ball of wax.) Our relationship now is a blessing in my life, but only because that relationship HAS changed. Today, we are very close to what I wanted, growing up. She's more of a mother to me now than she ever was the first 25 years, or so. And I'm grateful for that.

I guess all I'm saying is that nothing on earth can ever change losing your mother, as a child. Nothing. It is always a void. It is always painful. It is always a mystery. Yes, monumental events in my life were difficult without her near me - my first love, graduating from high school, college, my wedding day, the birth of my firstborn.... But really, it's the ins and outs of life that make me miss her more. Wondering how she would have handled certain situations. What advice would she give to me today? What would she look like at 63 years of age? What will *I* look like at 63 years of age? Seeing mothers and daughters together, and recognizing the gift that it is - a gift to which they are completely oblivious - is bittersweet. Overwhelmingly so. Whenever someone stands up in church and introduces her mother, I almost always cry. Not really for myself, but at the sheer beauty of it all. That relationship is beautiful, because love her or hate her - she's still your mother, and you KNOW her. And what's more - she knows you.

I suppose that at the very least, I have the insight that having a daughter of my own is truly, truly special indeed. I rarely reflect upon how it relates to my own relationship with my mother - probably because my focus and energies are on the relationship that I have here. The one that is alive and needs me. My baby. My girl. My daughter. I am her mother. She needs me here - not wallowing in the past, crying out for my own mum. She wouldn't want that, and neither do I.

But it still sucks. And I miss her dearly. And I do still cry out for my own mum.

I love you. I miss you. Today and every day.

1 comment:

1foxypocahontas said...

This was beautiful. And beautifully written.

I'm sorry if I have ever offended you.

I love you.