Sunday, May 8, 2011

It is Mother's Day

I do have a cropped version of this photograph. I didn't want to use that one, all tidied 'n gussied up. Here is my father, my mother and me. While the edges are rough, my friend Stacey did Photoshop out some crinkles.

Sometimes you can do that.

I thought of my mother Helen in Church this morning, how in the last years of her life I still kept her at arm's length. I was sober but not loving Christ as today. My woundology (to coin a phrase I believe originated with Carolyn Myss) had burrowed deep into my layers. I was more concerned with my armor than with an open heart, even if arrows would come flying at it. Had I more compassion and yes, gentle detachment then, I would have different memories. We might've been able to go out for tea or take a walk together. I'm not prepared to unpack why we could not. Not just now.

I didn't, we didn't. She died three days before Princess Diana was killed in August of 1997. Her ashes are interred in southern California. I wrote about that sometime last year (June). I'll let you find it if it calls to you.

This is the photo I uploaded to Facebook, but closer to the original. Mom was a beauty. She did and didn't realize it.

I'm wondering why Mother's and Father's "Days" are separated.

I think of Jesus' Mother, the Blessed Virgin, whom the Orthodox call The Theotokos. I pray to her sometimes, asking her to intercede on my behalf, but I don't consider her a "mom replacement."

My mother also had a mom, "Babu," a Ukrainian immigrant who had eight children, not all of whom survived childhood. Tillie was her name. My father's mother "Shayna" was killed in the Nazi death camps along with his father, brothers and sisters while he was in New York working for his uncle. There is generational grief in the mothering here.

I don't think Hallmark has a card for this.

While not blotting out the pain, I know exactly Who can soothe me when I feel it.


  1. Your mother was beautiful. And what a smile! They both look very happy. It's a lovely moment, frozen forever in time. I think that's the secret. Those old wounds, the deep hurts that kept you, kept both of you from reaching out to each other are just that: old wounds. Where she is now, she has perfect peace, perfect understanding and perfect love, all of those things that you two didn't have in that difficult relationship. Remember the lovely moments, remember how you felt taking flowers to your mother last year, and hold onto that. Let those old pains fall away like blown petals, to be replaced with tender understanding. Easier said than done, I know, but there, within reach, to remember that both of your parents loved you as best they were able, and that those beloveds that have passed on are always nearby, as near as thought and prayer.

    And remember, too, when grief and loss try to overwhelm you (as they do all of us from time to time), that you have a great wealth of friends, and friends are the family that you get to pick. That's a pretty wonderful family, don't you think?

    Much love and blessings to you.

  2. Thank you again! The sheer overwhelm sensations of grief & loss don't knock me for six as in years 'n decades past... a dull sadness of missing, mostly. As I pray for them both and little David every day, it fuels my sense of their Godly eternity.

    And yeah, what smiles..... with a squirmy new daughter who couldn't take the brightness of the sunlight.... (literally)....

  3. I frequently remind others that none of us is perfect - and none of our parents were/are perfect. I tell people we are all/each of us neurotic - differing only in type and severity. This makes it so easy not to be hurt by others and to forgive them. My sisters say horrible things about our Mom and I often wonder just who it is they are talking about because I don't recognize our Mom in what they rant/rave about. Once one (at least tries to) understands and forgives, the next thing you know is that you are able to gain some wisdom, virtue, some shred of something valuable from them and you start remembering the good stuff. This is a challenge, because damage happens early in life - before we have the mental ability to discern, to understand .. the challenge is to let that go and so move on. The more severe one parent(s) is/are, the bigger the challenge. I guess one could say, "Families: can't live with em, cant live without 'em". I also say that friends are sisters...without the baggage. Luv ya all, Namaste

  4. That's a lot of wisdom, Susan. Of course I think your mom is pretty great!