I lost my mother almost six years ago. She went quickly and unexpectedly, leaving us all struggling to find our way without her. It seems incredible to me that it has already been that long since she passed away. The death of my mother almost killed me; at least that`s how it felt at the time. To say we were close is a huge understatement; we were enmeshed in a circle, beginning to end.
I tend to think and dream alot about my mother at this time of year; I suppose because this is around the time she began to feel ill, and when the nightmare began. It didn`t last long – she lost her battle within a few short months, fighting tooth and nail all the way to the end.
It took me many years to accept the fact that my mother had died. I always saw her as indestructible; so strong. For the first few years after she passed away, I couldn`t even utter the word “died” in the context of what happened to her. I would find another word, anything but that one, to describe the situation. I was simply unable to say the words “my mother died”. I thought if I spoke the words, it would be confirming that she was dead, and I simply couldn`t accept that reality. I wanted to pretend it was all just a huge mistake; that somehow, in some way, she would come back. My denial phase was stuck in second gear and I couldn`t move forward. I knew I needed help and I got it in the form of therapy. And it saved me.
Although I cry tears as I write these words, they are not coming from the same place as those early years. That time when I was so submerged in my grief, so lost and alone in the dark abyss, and so unable and unwilling to hold a picture in my mind of a future without my mother in it. The tears I shed today come, finally, from a place of acceptance. A place solidly bedded in reality. From the eyes of a woman, rather than a girl. From a heart that has healed and expanded to make room for the happy memories.
The death of my mother was the catalyst that led to the beginning of my journey to re-define my Self in order to save myself. Enmeshed relationships have a way of negating one`s own sense of self. When we are too close to see the separation between the two, the two become meshed into one. I have come a very long way from the child who could only see herself as reflected in her mother`s eyes. Through the gift of therapy, I have greeted and embraced my true, adult Self and can now see the world filtered through my own eyes.
Embarking on a journey to re-define my Self is the most beautiful and valuable gift my mother ever gave me.
I wish she could see me now.
- Growing Through Loss: A Grief Well Met (pdresources.wordpress.com)