Stories. We all have them! They define us. Each aspect of some past memory is a story that remains. When does a story shift from being just a story to part of our muscle memory, part of our cellular memory? So much so, that when we think about the time we had that experience, everything seemed to change. It was a defining moment, a moment when we knew nothing would ever be the same
I have had many experiences in my life that are defining moments. Times when the impact was so great, that it forever changed my perspective, my relationship with others and ultimately, my relationship to myself.
Losing a parent is never easy, no matter how old you are. Though I have worked in the field of grief for over 20 years, all of my schooling could not prepare me for the potent emotions that arose from the loss of my mother.
Mother’s and daughter’s are supposed to have close relationships. The relationship between a mother and daughter, certainly defines who we are, how we react to intimacy and how we live our lives. Also, the relationship between mother and daughter greatly impact the degree to which we allow people to get close to us, how vulnerable we allow we are and how we relate to the world.
My relationship with my mother was tricky- and some daughters do have tricky relationships with their mother’s. What made it so tricky was that I wanted to love her, and she wanted to love me- we just couldn’t figure out how to communicate our love without getting into spats, disagreements or power struggles.
When the relationship is fraught with struggle- struggle becomes part of what we expect when we love. We actually could not imagine that love could be rich, filled with devotion, unless accompanied by strife! The impact of this is certainly curious. The belief system evolves into one where if there is not disagreement, then there cannot be love.
As I reminisce about the spats, they make me quite sad. What time was wasted arguing about inconsequential things that surely do not matter today. If I could have her back, and have any one of those spats, just to hear her voice once more, I would gladly enter into that spat. Yet, what I learned from her as she was dying, was that she was really afraid to be her. My life was more of what she had aspired to, yet could never get there because of the relationship she had had with her own mother. Ah, the thread of relationships lingers through time as we try to make it happen differently.
Make it happen girl! Do it differently. Make choices that are proactive. Create possibilities that are not stymied by what has preceded them.
My mother taught me more in her last 6 months of life than at any other time. The woman I met in her dying was funny, down to earth and loving, in just the way I wanted and needed her to be. To love her- in a non- combative, warm mushy way was a gift. The illness became what we fought against, and then we were one against the devestating of illness.
Curious that after she died, my life was free of that strife between mother and daughter. The grief, though overwhelming, at times, was the beginning of a birthing in me that I believe could not have begun within the confines of the strife ridden relationship between mother and daughter.
After she passed, so many wonderful experiences and people entered my life. I met the man of my dreams. We married. I filmed a TV show for A & E TV that ran two seasons. That show has brought me friendships, professional relationships and journeys that are simply amazing.
My mother taught me to Make It Happen! And do it well. Make It happen with love, Make It Happen with compassion. Make IT Happen- even when no one believes that it can- As long as you believe it- then anything is possible!
The impossible did happen- I met the mother of my dreams in her death. Give birth to yourself as each day dies, find life in your new day.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.