Saturday, October 6, 2012

Repost ~ My Mother, Myself

In honor of my Mom, who passed away a year ago, October 17, 2011, I am reposting a entry that  appeared last year on my birthday.  It was my last birthday with her, the woman who accompanied me through my first birth day.  The woman who was there for every birthday, the only other person who truly and intimately shared this day with me. 

What was only a shadow when I wrote My Mother, Myself, became a dark reality just ten days later.  I miss my Mum. Her death has been woven into the tapestry of my life, a part of the odd beauty that sorrow creates.  I see it daily, touch it, hold it to my cheek, and mourn her. I feel my heart fill with gratitude for the last days with her, for the companionship of my sisters, my friends on this path of sorrow, for a heart that is free to mourn in love and peace.  I miss my Mum, and celebrate my 46th birthday for her, in gratitude and love. 

Happy Birth Day, Mum.  I love you.

My Mother, Myself - October 7, 2011

Years ago someone gave me a book called, My Mother, Myself. As the title suggests, the book focused on the relationship between mothers and daughters, and how our mothers influence the women we grow up to be. I started reading it, but I don't think I finished it. Thanks to a faith in God, I had already gotten to the point in my life when I was uncomfortable assigning blame for my weaknesses and oddities on my Mom. I knew that both my parents were human beings, and as such, prone to frailties that had helped make me the person I was, weirdnesses and all. I had come to understand that no matter what ball my parents had tossed to me in the parental game of life, I was the one who had chosen to take the ball and run with it, and therefore I was ultimately responsible for the things I carried with me from childhood.

I've been thinking about the title of that book today, though, because today is my 45th birthday. I have been feeling melancholy all day, and on the way home from the grocery store this afternoon, I realized why. Today is not just the anniversary of the day I was born. It is also the anniversary of the day my mom gave birth to me. This realization was poignant for me. My mom is in the Ottawa Cancer Research Centre, after having received a diagnosis of stage-4 lung cancer, which has spread throughout her body. The body that carried me for nine months, that sheltered and protected me and then worked so hard to introduce me to the world, is suffering, breaking down, expiring. The woman that nurtured and cared for me is now being nurtured and cared for as she faces what is most likely the end of her life.

Most of my birthdays are about becoming a year older, eating cake, good wishes on Facebook, being with friends and family. This year it is about preparing to say good-bye to the woman who made sure I would see this day.

As a mother, on my daughter's birthday, I always go back in time to the day that she was born. I remember that day with joy. Grace's birth day is a celebration for me as well as for her. She celebrates being born, and I celebrate giving birth to her. Yet I have never seen my birthday as a day that might include thoughts of my mother. This is new to me. This is also wonderful. And sad.

Forty-five years ago today, I opened my eyes and looked into my mother's eyes for the first time. In the near future, it is entirely possible that I will look into my mother's eyes for the last time on this earth. The years in between have been full of many things; hard things, sweet things, the things that make life, life. They have been full of love, which I was only able to fully appreciate when I stopped demanding that my mother's love be presented to me in a manner of my approval, and started accepting her as a woman who loved me the way she loved me and I could receive it or reject it but I had no right to judge that it was not there, that it was not real.

On our birthdays, we say thank you a lot. For gifts, for good wishes, for another year. Today I am grateful for the woman who shared this day with me, 45 years ago. I thank God for her, and ask Him to make me a blessing to her. I pray that the God who loves her with a passion that she cannot even imagine will draw her to Him, and carry her through these days. Of course I pray that these would not be her last days, but should they be, I pray that they will not be an end, but be a beginning - of eternity, of life, of hope, of dancing and singing and joy and laughter and boundless love.

Today is a day that she and I share. Happy Birth Day, Mum. I love you.

No comments:

My Zimbio