The Sisterhood of the Motherless Daughters
Happy Humper, Freaknasties! Sitting here at the airport getting ready to head to Denver after spending the day in Chattanooga, coming back to Atlanta, then after Denver, heading to Chicago for the weekend. Even though I'm expecting a pretty crappy weekend in Chicago, I'm actually mostly content with how life is treating me here, lately. I feel the best I've felt in a very long time... crazy work life and everything.
For more of what's going on in my world, you can follow me over on Instagram or check out the newest podcast. I feel like these stolen minutes I have for blogging should be talking about fresh content instead of rehashing everything. I kind of like Instagram for microblogging and giving you guys my day in the life, and then recapping on the podcast. This space can be for digging deeper into some other things.
Like I said, I'm anticipating and expecting a really crappy weekend in Chicago. I'm mentally and emotionally preparing myself for it, but I think my dread is compounding with the fact that it's Mother's Day weekend and that is a huge trigger for me for a lot of reasons. It's the one day a year I really have to stay away from social media because seeing everyone's celebration of their relationship with their mother depresses me. I don't grieve on Father's Day the way I do on Mother's Day, and I think it's because there isn't a gaping hole in the bond between my father and I, but there is in the bond with my mother. An editor told me recently, "All of the mothers in your work die before their daughters can remember them."
Paging Dr. Freud.
I know I'm not alone. A lot of you have shared with me that you have had similar experiences with your own mothers, but I think it's so odd for people to wrap their heads around having a malignant and damaging mother and what it does to a person. I've had 'mother figures' try to fill the void, but I think because we are so hard wired biologically to bond with our birth mothers, it's hard to have that kind of intimate relationship with another person unless it began in childhood. There's an uncomfortableness to it, that instead of healing you, only shines a light on the gaping hole in your heart you kind of just have to learn to cope with.
I've never publicly spoken of this before, but when I found out my mother was dying, I always imagined I would feel an overwhelming sense of relief. However, I experienced the exact opposite. It was a completely paralyzing tidal wave of grief, guilt, anger, sadness, and I think I was in a fog for a few weeks. So many intense feelings I wasn't expecting to wash over me; hit me like a tidal wave. You expect to throw a party when your chief tormentor meets their demise.
Before I got the news, I hadn't been in contact with her for five years, so to feel as intensely as I did was more than a little overwhelming, especially when I was chastised for holding to my strong and healthy boundary that I refused to reestablish contact because I don't think dying gives you a free pass for the abuse you've inflicted on others. One of the best things said to me while I processed all of this was by my friend Karrie, because one of the things I was struggling with the most, was the slow and agonizing death my mother would endure. Her suffering was one of the biggest pieces of sadness and grief for me, because it was completely preventable and something she did to herself. As crazy as it sounds, no matter how badly she may deserve her round of Karma, I love her, and I was sad. Karrie said, "Her God has decided that this is what she has to go through." It was a good reminder that I'm not responsible or required to fix any of this.
For those of us with fractured relationships with our mothers, it's really hard to hear a lifetime of, "Oh come on! She's your mother! You only have one mother, you HAVE to make it work!" For most of my adult life, I tried to fix our relationship because it is unnatural and unfathomable to most people to have to cut your own mother out of your life to save yourself.
I just wanted to share this for those of you who struggle with this upcoming holiday, and let you know I get it. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't mourning something I ever had... I was mourning something I always wanted, and I have to let it go and create a new normal. I have to focus on the future and my own children, because that's the only thing I have control over right now. I will show up on Mother's Day. Will I see them? Probably not. But I will waste the money, show up, and be that something I always wanted for myself. So when people ask me how I endure all of this, I simply say I know it's temporary, and they will know I love them more than I hate the situation. That alone is worth the wasted $1,000.
For those of you who have great relationships with your mothers, please go celebrate her Sunday! Post all over social media and let the world know how much you love her.
Well, I'm off to make my way to Denver. Have a lovely week, everyone!