When my mother died nine years ago this week, I was shaken to my core in ways that I had not have anticipated.
It felt like an endless earthquake in slow motion with relentless aftershocks. My distress was so profound, my thinking and mental faculties so severely impacted, that I began to worry. Perhaps something other than mourning was going on with me.
When I confided in a woman whose strength and no-nonsense attitude I respect greatly, she shared a surprisingly similar experience. For months after her mother’s death, she said she had felt like a ghost and an uprooted tree. How re-assuring to hear that I was not going crazy and that I would eventually balance out.
Meanwhile, some other friends of mine confessed to the exact opposite; the death of their mother had been a welcome relief from her emotional tyranny. This was all very interesting; worth reflecting upon and I believe worth sharing.
Wherever we are today on that spectrum, we might want to use this Sunday as an opportunity to reflect on a relationship which is absolutely pivotal, whether we like it or not.
Years ago, the obvious finally hit me. I was listening to an Oprah program and I heard this woman say: “I hate my mother”… I began to wonder just how she could ever hope to love herself if she hated where she came from?
Suddenly, it struck me as a contradiction in terms and put a different light upon the 5th commandment “Thy shall honor Thy parents”. Mind you, it says “honor”, not love, like, respect, but “honor.
I for one feel very fortunate: my mother was an extraordinary woman capable of both amazing courage and unbelievable weakness. She taught me much about how to live, and even more importantly, she taught me how to die.
I remember sitting next to her, holding her hand a few days before she would depart on the Great Journey. I remember finally admitting the truth to both of us “Maman, I don’t want you to go”, I choked. Eyes closed, she replied simply:
“Mais que veux- tu ma fille, c’est la vie”
(yes, I hear you my daughter, but that is life). Well, that settled that…
A couple of days later she pushed away the food we were trying to give to her and flatly said; “Ok, ça a assez duré, this has lasted long enough, I am out of here” and indeed she was out of there two days later, without an ounce of fear, a magnificent, admirable “Presence to the event” as Eckart Tolle would put it.
Years later I realized that there simply were no two ways about it: my mother had been “the” love of my life. Though she had hurt me in many ways, innumerable times; yet somehow my heart was always filled with unabashed, unconditional love. I saw and loved her soul, who she was, not necessarily what she did.
Plain and simple, I adored the woman! Much has been said and written about the ineffable link between mother and daughter. I will attest to that and I am eternally grateful.
So what will we do this Mother’s Day? However we feel today about our mother, whether she is alive or not, how will we mark the day? How will we honor this magical and extraordinary place called a womb…our matrix, our unique terroir?
If you wish, let me know what you chose to do. I would love it if you would share you own experience. I am on a heart-driven mission. I hope perhaps together we can make our world just a little bit safer, kinder, and more nurturing so we can all thrive like sunflowers, as Nature intended.