Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.
Dear readers, our daughter and soon-to-be-formally adopted grandbaby, Keira, are feeling their way forward, day by day. And sometimes, when the baby’s drug withdrawal symptoms worsen, hour by hour. Thank you for your ongoing prayers. (Catch up on our miracle here.)
being fully present—to the past
Anyone else with a complex parental relationship?
I’ve been questioning my dry-eyed, ongoing numbness over my mother’s death, a few years ago.
Weeping neither proves nor validates one’s depth of love or loss: I learned this at “Grief Share,” a 12-week class for the bereaved.
A relief, yes.
Still, I needed more.
Take that angry day little Laura ran away: Her mom asked her to pause so she could describe to the police what her child was wearing.
Brown confesses she “made it three houses away before [her] resolve melted, but went all the way around the block just to save face.”
Brown’s mom took her child seriously. She made room for heated, headlong reaction. Subtly assured her that she’d be found, brought safely home.
What would your mom have said?
How might you answer Brown’s follow-up questions?
Did your mom ever deal with a fit by pretending to take you seriously?
How has she made it hard to stay mad?
Has she blessed your independence in ways that make you want to come home?
Near the end of my mother’s life, I wanted to run away.
Around the block, around the bend
Parenthood was my mother’s high calling, her crowning joy. She amazed me in a thousand ways.
Dementia and disease unraveled her. Mom became increasingly hard to recognize and even harder to spend time with during her final, anguished year. Those scenes still cloud my memory of her, block out better times.
Who was she, really?
Brown’s disarming book invites personal time-travel. I started remembering:
- Mom opening cornerless cupboards (gnawed by our dog), stashing her Nestles Crunch bars somewhere new every week
- Mom painting Mercurochrome “kittens” on my skinned knees to distract me from the pain
- Mom providing unlimited buttercream frosting, colored sprinkles, and gingerbread men for my birthday party
Glimpse by glimpse, I have finally started remembering better days. Finding her again. Forgiving myself for how long this has taken.
Laura’s page of fill-in-the-blank statements will coax forth more riches:
Mom, it made me feel loved when you . . .
It made me feel safe when you . . .
It made me feel smart when you . . .
For some of us, calling up memories of our mothers feels crazy. Daunting. Impossible.
Maybe, like our new grandbaby, your birth mother relinquished her rights with courageous love. Or it might have been negligence. Maybe the courts or a relative stepped in, later on, to protect you.
Perhaps your mother’s actions, or yours, caused estrangement and she’s gone now and there’s no chance to absolve her. Or ask her forgiveness.*
Pain-crazed, afraid of death, your mother might have turned away from you, at the end.
Even so . . .
What if we had the mother we needed
to shape who we are still becoming?
If we sit quietly with this idea and invite God to speak into our past and present, we might find a new equilibrium somewhere between runaway anger and fond remembrance, between guilt and growing wholeness.
Even if my mother and father leave me, the Lord will take me in.
Psalm 27:10 ERV
MAKING IT PERSONAL:
*Many people find that writing a letter to their deceased loved one, creating a memory book, or garden, or sharing their story aloud with a trusted listener alleviates pain. This site offers ideas.