Yesterday would have been my mother’s birthday, the fourth that has passed since she died.
This year I acknowledged it, but didn’t cry, and that in itself made me incredibly sad.
Time passes so quickly…
My mother and I had a difficult relationship but I always knew that I was loved.
We were both complicated and conflicted and spent much of our lives finding some sort of happiness and comfort within the world.
I grew up overshadowed by this huge, bright beautiful and charismatic woman who tried to leave me space to develop into who I was meant to be, unlike the way she herself was brought up; but she still ended up dominating me.
I rebelled, and my rebellion took forms that needled and prodded her greatest fears.
When I was 13, our family doctor advised me that the best thing that I could do for my own mental health, was get away from her. This advice was reiterated by many parties over the years.
I never consciously took the advice,but I adopted a lifestyle that created the distance necessary for both of our survival.
In my 30’s we reconciled, and both of us worked hard to build a good and a non destructive relationship.
In some ways it was easy. I loved her, and I also liked her. She was intelligent and funny, and had similar quirks and interests to myself, with a unique way of perceiving and interpreting reality.
Other aspects of our relationship were more difficult; breaking patterns, standing up for myself, asserting my individual nature and path.
I was 37 when I first stood up for myself and said NO. There was a long silence, and then she congratulated me, which was disconcerting but marked a surge forward for both of us.
I was with my mother during the final stage of her illness. I stayed in her hospital room for the last week of her life, helping the other members of my family support and love her into death, without fear.
Since she died I have fallen into pieces, but also become myself.
I finally feel as if I am the person I was meant to be.
My mother and I both fought so hard for the relationship we gained with each other and I am honoured to look into a mirror and see aspects of her flicker back at me. However part of the process of losing, gaining and losing her again, means when I look in a mirror, I also fully see and accept myself.