Community Magazine

Training Wheels in Grief

By Survivingana @survivingana

Today marks a year since mum died. My dad, brother and myself have walked each step of this last week a year ago, particularly the horror and surrealness of yesterday and today. It has been a year of firsts without mom – her birthday, our birthdays, christmas, easters, mothers day, and now today. Also a year in learning far more about my father than I wanted to know and hints as to what my parents relationship may really have been like. Maturity is learning the realness of our parents and learning to accept that.

I have given up bothering with the grief cycle. Grief is hard enough when you had a good relationship with the deceased. When that relationship was complicated and abusive then grieving is taken to a whole new level.

My mothers gift to me was to try an eliminate myself. My person, my gifts, my independence, my femininity, my womanhood, my maturity.

I do not exaggerate. My relationship with her was always trying to please, keep the boat from sinking. My relationships with others were based on me being inferior because that was the lesson I learned. My mother stamped her way over my life, my ex continued the stamping.

BUT she loved me. I know this. She would have taken the bullet if there was one facing me. And I loved her.

I miss her, but I also have relief in being free for the first time.

I gave up on books about grieving too. They either assumed you had a good relationship with your mum, or gave a pathetic paragraph or two in passing reference to those who had abusive mothers. I have had to find my own way in this, and still have not come to terms nor a harbor.

This much is true. In grieving you must grieve the whole person. I cannot just remember the good times. I cannot rewrite the person she was into someone I wanted. When I look back at my memories I have to remember both good and bad. I have to truly see and accept my mother as she was. Complex – as our relationship was. It’s not easy. There are questions, that will never have answers. There will never be closure nor understanding. There will always be regret for things not said, not aired. Regret for the inability for either of us to bridge the gap. Regret for thinking there would be plenty of time to talk.

In grieving for the whole person my mother was, there must be forgiveness. For sanity sake and because of my love for her, I have to (and have) forgive her. She was also at the mercy of influences outside of her control, her love may have been tainted, but she still loved. She was not perfect and did the best she could. Like we all are and do. I too have bequeathed to my kids both good and bad.

She also bequeathed two other gifts that were priceless.

(1) Raising me in a christian environment, that then became my own belief.

(2) Her elimination of me, birthed an inner strength. I become a survivor, a small but steady flicker of inner strength that slowly grew, sometimes in danger of being snuffed out, but never giving up.

It is still going to take time to put all the pieces together, to make my mom a whole person that I can remember with peace. I honor parts of my mother, I need to honor all of my mother. Because she is human, because she is my mother.

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