A friend of mine used to have the signature line "if it's not one thing, it's your mother". Her mother has died and my friend no longer uses that line on her emails and letters.
My mother had a huge impact on my life too. My mother's approval and understanding were things that I wanted and that weighed heavily on my self/ life/ confidence/ self love.
Even towards that end of my mother's life, I was, on some level, afraid of her. Or maybe more accurately, her words. "sticks and stones might break my bones, but words will never hurt me". We used to say that when we were little kids. All the kids I knew said it. I guess it was a coping method against bullying.
But the words did hurt, and sting. As much as the physical pain if not more.
Now that my mother is dead (I almost said "gone", but she will always be here- somewhere), I hope that I am able to dissect some of the words and the feelings I caught from them.
I am almost 65. That means that I am well past living half of my life. How much more time I have here on Earth, nobody knows. That's not the most important thing to me right now.
What is important is my legacy. I know that I have left good in my path when I reflect on the lives of mothers and babies I have been lucky enough to meet and help.
I know that my legacy with those closest to me is more complicated that just "good" or "bad". I have not been a perfect person. I have not been a perfect mother, wife, or friend. Nor a perfect daughter.
I cannot list all of my imperfections of which there are many. Believe me, in my head I re-live a lot of shit. Yelling at the kids. Spanking and probably scaring them to death. Yelling at my mother and my husband. I feel it all. None of it was justified or called for.
If I could undo everything I did "wrong" in my life, I might. Although I don't believe that every mistake turned out wrong. Any hurt that I inflicted, I would take back in a heartbeat.
Holding on to past hurts and pain is what we do. I was able to move away from a lot of it with my mother in the last two years of her life. She went on antidepressants and for the first time in my memory, she was not so critical or demanding. She was more relaxed and was able to let go of her own anxiety.
I have learned to accept my mother's (and father's) treatment of myself and my siblings. I don't use the word "forgive" here because I am not 100% sure what that even means.
I know that the way my parents acted towards us was a reflection of their experiences and views of who they were. What they felt. Their pain was inflicted upon us. And I share that with the people in my life with whom I shared my deepest feelings of love.
And now, I am just coping. I am confused. What is the right thing to do now?
I have had such a rich life and Nick and I have shared so much together. The wonder that we found each other. The amazement in having these beautiful babies, children, adults. The sadness of losing two babies. Losing our grandparents and parents. Losing my brother.. The total confoundment and confusion of how to parent adults while being an adult.
There are millions of books on pregnancy and parenting. Only a few on parenting adults. There are no play dates and coffee groups for moms once the kids grow up.
I am okay knowing that I won't live forever. It's just too hard. What I would like though is to live in as much peace as possible.
My love is deep and true and perfect. I, on the other hand, am not