Sunday, March 22, 2009

all or nothing

i found resonance with the words of Prince William this week, when he said,

Never being able to say the word "Mummy" again in your life sounds like a small thing. However, for many, including me, it's now really just a word – hollow and evoking only memories... I too have felt – and still feel – the emptiness on such a day as Mother's Day.
whenever one loses one's mother, and regardless of the kind of relationship one had, the death is the loss of our first home, our birthplace. someone with whom the connection is the deepest humans can ever know. i know how complicated the grieving process has been in the 10 years since her death, and i have witnessed the scar the death of a mother when one is a child creates in the lives of friends. i have witnessed the pain of mothers not dead, but somehow lost all the same...

i'm fairly certain i've not written about my relationship with my own mother on these pages except perhaps in the most brief of mentions. it's been an intentional omission...

my mother was a troubled person. our relationship, in life, and death, complicated... her anniversary this past October came at a time when i was working my way towards reconciling the maelstrom of emotions her memory evokes in me... processing stuff i wish i had the opportunity to deal with when she was alive and much much sooner after her death.

it is no coincidence that i was in voluntary therapeutic retreat in the week leading up to October 2nd 2008. that day was significant to me in ways i can't express. for events, like anniversaries, themselves are not as significant as the one you share it with. i can say it marked a decade (more than) of wrestling with how to relate, to have the courage to speak well and ill of the find something like peace with her memory, with the parts of her i now know i lost long before the punchline of her death, and, with the many parts of her i carry in me still. for all roads lead back to her. and they somehow always will... my first home and thus the tether that pulled (and still can pull) more strongly than any other...

i know my mother was also a beautiful person. unique. deserving of love... but knowing
how to love another is rarely a simple thing... it was no less true on that night last October than it was when she was alive. so much lost to silence. of having to conceal one's feelings... my mother silenced much of what was inside her. at great cost. if she has left a legacy, it's that i don't want to give myself up to silence. when i do, my world implodes. life is too short to spend it not saying how you feel. i learnt that this winter. found myself exploding in reverse after attempting to silence my feelings for the benefit of someone i love. it was too much like being her that not being me. silencing one's love and desire can be just as damaging in the end as silencing pain.

it's Mothers' Day. or, as was the old way, Mothering Sunday. for mothering is done by many, not just mothers. and sometimes it has to been done only by ourselves for ourselves.

i am my mother's daughter. for the layers of memory... and love. that which i can voice. and that which had to be silenced.


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