Saturday, May 7, 2011
She's been gone from my life for so long now. I guess I stopped counting at ten years and just kind of fixed that number in my mind. But it's been almost double that. Was I really in my thirties when she died? I was too busy feeling sorry for her to feel sorry for myself. I spent most of my mourning energy empathizing with her. How she must ache for what she's going to miss. Of course that makes no sense, but I felt it anyway. And now that I stop to think about it, I really got gypped. I haven't had her around for most of my parenting years. My kids didn't get to know her. I missed so many chances to get her advice, to lean on her, to use her as we all use our mothers, as a kind of buffer against the tough bits in life.
My mom wasn't the effusive, wrap you in her arms type of mother. The photo gives a hint of it. Fine, sit on my lap. but I've got stuff to think about, cigarettes to smoke, things to do. If that sounds like a criticism, it's not. Mothers are human and their mothering styles are infinitely varied. I felt my mom's love in a powerful way and I still do. Her somewhat aloof but peaceful and thoughtful demeanor served as a real anchor for me. After all these years without her, I don't seem to miss her with that sharp twinge of pain like I used to. When I wondered about this I realized that she's come to rest in me in such a profound way I'm not always conscious of it. She's there in the tone of voice I use when I answer my girls' calls, in the way I interact with them when they're in crisis, when I suddenly grab their knee and tell them they're good kids, and in the everyday choices I make as a mother...they're all echoes of my mom. And in so many ways it's so much better than missing her.
*Thanks to Cathy for sending me a photo since all of mine are in storage...and therein lies another post!
Posted by Sue/the view from great island at 9:27 AM