Sunday, Oct 7
“It’s never too late”. My friend Alfred’s mother is dying of cancer, she is lying in a hospital bed after a seizure unable to walk anymore. He has been told that she will not leave the hospital again, he is praying for a miracle. Her long time boyfriend told him that he regretted never marrying her. Alfred told him, “It’s never too late”. His mother is not able to speak after the seizure, but she can nod her head yes and no. Her boyfriend proposed and she nodded yes. They held a small ceremony around her hospital bed. Four days later she passed away. Why do we wait until death comes to make peace?
I have not seen my own mother in 15 years. A history of mental illness and abuse. Stories I am tired of telling. I recently got a massage to relieve some of the chronic pain in my right shoulder. As the knot melted, a memory surfaced. I was 14 and my mother was kicking me while I was curled up in fetal position to protect myself. I remember looking up at her, angry that she was still beating me like a child as I grew into a woman. I looked at her with hate in my eyes, all the suppressed rage that I could not express in talking or fighting back. I had no power. So I found a way to have power- I promised myself that no matter how bad she beat me, I would not let her see me cry. Hot tears that stung my face betrayed my weakness, my vulnerability. She could beat my body, but she could not control my mind. I began to twist the scenario. She was the weak one for losing her temper. I was strong because I could control my emotions, and I made my face like a mask. I would not let her inside. That memory was so visceral and as the knot massaged out, I wept and wept all those tears that had been trapped inside for so long. I am tired of this anger inside me. Is this where I learned to control my emotions and keep people out of my vulnerability?
Over the years when the trauma and abandonment come up, I take myself to the shower to cry alone. I curl up like a ball on the floor and let the water fall on me like a powerful rain, something to wash me clean of all this pain inside. I let the water fill my gaping wound. Will I ever be complete?
I found a contact for my mother online last week. I left a message and she emailed me back. Now I am left to wonder what will happen when I call her back? Will she be verbally abusive again? She had her own pain that was so unbearable that it came out in rages of beating her kids. She had her own struggles and had been abused as a girl. How many generations do these patterns carry on?
I look in the mirror at the lines on my face. The wrinkles show my journey. What does my mothers face look like after 15 years? I think of Alfred’s mother, I think about making peace before death. My mom used to say, “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead”, when I talked back to her. I got tired of the death threat as a manipulation to get me to behave, to quiet down. I guess I am lucky that she is still here for me to try and make peace. I say prayers that it will be different this time.
What do I want? I want to lay my head in my mothers lap and have her stroke my hair. I want to receive all the mother love I have been missing. I want to be held. I want forgiveness and peace.