To state that my feelings about and reasons for attending yesterday’s service for my mother are messy and confusing, is an understatement. At this moment, this is what I am able to discern.
- I did not want my children paraded by and fawned over by people (who wish to claim them as family while shunning their mother) .
- The manners in which I was notified of both the death and the service, speak volumes to the collective statement of my “place”. I would not miss or avoid the service out of fear or shame. As, I feel neither.
- The heavily orchestrated gathering illuminated, beyond doubt, that I was not a part of, that I am not even a little included, welcome, or connected. No belonging. No business. The collective has spoken. I am grateful to have fully witnessed this, together, alongside my children, Favorite, and Sweet Greg. I have missed much of my life waiting and trying to be heard, understood, welcome, connected. In addition to losing decades to the grief and confusion which defined and consumed me, what hurts more; how that despair, longing, and obsession robbed/robs my boys of my full presence.
As my sister spoke of Judith, I looked at Greg and said “Who is she even talking about?” He calmly and without delay squeezed my hand and whispered, “She is describing the mother she had”. That was IT. To hear that sentence is what I have always needed. Our realities differed, and mine has been regarded as wrong, punishable, invalid.
I am grateful that my sons were able to more clearly witness the dedicated arrangement in which they are being required to force themselves to feel as if they belong and “fit”. Their father sat neither with us nor with the “family”. I wonder how he feels about his participation and contribution. They are definitely more his people than they are mine. He is easily charmed by shiny people and things. I am certain he glowed with pride over his affiliation with such an accomplished group of people. I am less easily impressed by things.
My relationship with my ex, because of our children, is something that may mentally tether me to this. The boys and I will get counseling to manage the effects of parental alienation. I cannot spare them, but I can help them become informed and armed with the language to identify the things that, without help, would emotionally wound, and defy the articulation of young boys.
NOTE: If we do not heal and fix what hurts us, we will seek, date, marry it. Hopefully, my ex is my final lesson on this. Abusers, enablers, and less enlightened people may pose the question “Well who is the common variable here, and therefore the problem?” Abuse is a cycle, a legacy.
NOTE: If we grow up being treated as if we are worthy of and the cause for cruelty and banishment, we will seek relationships that affirm that. If we are raised to feel valued and connected, we will seek relationships that affirm that. Those become core guiding (beliefs) myths about connection and our “selves”.
My sister and I lived two different experiences. My mother’s approval and endorsement of her, as clear evidence of fine mothering, connected my sister to the rest of the family. My mother’s experience with me was used to divide me from them. One of us got a bridge and one got a stonewall. On my less difficult days, I was sometimes treated kind of like the sick mangey dogs roaming the streets in South East Asia. I recall badly wanting to hold them tightly and whisper “it will be ok”. But I was afraid and that was a lie(it would never be ok), so I would pet them with a smooth stick or a piece of trash and offer them scraps of food. It made me feel both sad and like an asshole because I recognized that more was needed and deserved.
A wise friend shared with me that “Difficult children are here to wake their parents. But your mother was not interested”. It is true, she showed reflexive aversion to or dismissal of anything/anyone which/whom was not emotionally simple and intellectually stimulating. I have been anything but those.
Regarding the memorial service for my sister’s mother, I fared well, until reaching the parking lot where I was met with love and compassion by someone who could see. I crumbled. I am not sad for the loss of the mother who discarded me, repeatedly and then departed the world. I am grateful for her heroic financial rescue during my divorce. I thanked her for that in all of the ways possible, but never in the form of submission to people who righteously, and with her blessing, diminished me. Yesterday, that family at the service said good bye to my sister’s mother. They never even knew mine.
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