Friday, January 20, 2012

A Lifetime Ago

He said I'm gonna put my guns into the ground,
I can't shoot them anymore,
That long black cloud is comin' down
And I feel like I'm knockin' on Heaven's door.

My grandmother once told me that my mother was fond of this song.

She also told me that there was a time when my mother desired death.

That I was a gift, and she was to be the sacrifice.

I would be her greatest accomplishment.

At 27 years old, and 20 years after my mother's death, it's occurred to me that I've never once asked even the minimalist questions about her. I think I thought I knew her. I don't remember what she smelled like, but I know what she looked like. I don't remember what she sounded like, but I know what her smile looked like. I don't know what her passions and goals were, and nobody ever told me.

I don't know the true essence of the woman she was, but I do know that I've spent, at least, the last 19 years attempting not to become her, while subconsciously reliving many of her horrid life experiences. I knew, and ran from, and learn more about, her pain, but I've never been introduced to her happiness and joy. Without that simple knowledge, life has been at a standstill. Just when I had begun believing that I was no longer grieving, I learned that the grief of a loss of this kind of magnitude is endured in waves, and I'd just been lying in a valley.

Now is the time to reshape and reclaim. I am reshaping and reclaiming my relation to, and relationship with, my mother by rustling the family tree and the family's collective memory. I'm in the process of drafting every question that I've ever wanted to know about my mother, to be shared, and hopefully answered as honestly as possible. This will lead me to the ultimate climax the middle of this year - to bring the family together in celebration of my mother's life, to breathe new life into the memories that I have of her, and to further help me in my healing process.


  1. That is so beautiful, Sis. I think you are onto something wonderful. "Just when I had begun believing that I was no longer grieving, I learned that the grief of a loss of this kind of magnitude is endured in waves, and I'd just been lying in a valley." Likewise, you have been lying in the valley to be able to confront this part of your history. It took 20 years, but you are there now and it's of urgency that you now take the time to know your mother. I think you will be better able to feel her around you once you do that. I honestly believe that with all my heart. I believe that you were her gift and that in a sense she sacrificed herself for you. Be at one with her and embrace what you meant to her and you will feel her near, I'm sure. I can't wait until you share with me what all you learned and how you're coping with the new knowledge.

    I didn't know my father either, he died when I was only 3. I've lived with the thought for years, that it just wasn't meant for me to have a man here in my life like that. However, I have found that I think of him a lot and struggle to remember what he might have looked like, smelled like. Nothing comes to mind/heart. I only know that there are answers I'd like to have, but not really sure of who can give them to me. I am very proud of you for taking these steps because this is the beginning of your healing even though it's coupled with so much hurt.

  2. Thanks Sis. And I think you're right. These days, I don't feel like I feel her, and then there are tiny moments of reflection that makes me think that she reaches out to me through my baby. Its a delicate dance because, although Emma is like the greatest thing since sliced bread in my life, is important for me to keep a balance between the Emma that she is, and the Emma that my mother was. You know us, we read into things, and sometimes I think I'm reluctant because I don't want to put that much weight on my baby. She's not my mother, but that doesn't mean that she and my mother don't have a certain connection which would make it possible for my mother to send me messages through her.

    And that would be me exiting the door of the X-Files now, hahaha.

    Its so tough when you have so many questions and no answers. I don't know if its possible for you to ask your mom about your dad. Maybe framing it from her perspective of their good times together. Like, what it was that she was feeling about him when they met, and how that blossomed into the beauty that is YOU. Then that can open her up to maybe seeing how important it is for you to know him and how he may have felt about you. I think that's the thing right there. We need to know how our parents felt about us. It wasn't until I learned the horrible secret that my mother had to carry with her, that I truly did believe that she loved me. Up until that point, I only saw her as a woman who was stuck in alcohol and drug addiction and who was not there, and who hurt me when she was there. I really questioned if she loved me, and now that I understand because I learned, and because I have experienced some of those things, I hurt deeply for her - the fact that she carried that alone and that it ultimately killed her. I'm looking forward to getting to know her on a deeper level :)