“Grief unspoken turns our pain into poison.” ~Unknown
Mother’s Day represents, for me, two opposite aspects of life, the joy of having and the despair of loss. It is joy for having children of my own to love unconditionally and despair for having lost my mother due to the chaos of mental illness, addiction, and childhood sexual abuse. Her physical body is still here, but our relationship died when she handed me over to my abuser at the age of six. After becoming a mother and feeling the sharp sting of losing a baby due to miscarriage at eleven weeks, I now value what the term ‘mother’ means in my life. I lost my innocence, my security, and my dreams the day I lost my mother. These losses somehow meant that I had failed and part of me could only blame the ‘powers that be’ for being so cruel to me. Little did I know that those losses would allow me to become fully aware of how important compassion and empathy are in lieu of judgment and anger.
What my heart experiences leading up to, and on, Mother’s Day is very important in how I continue on my motherly journey year after year. Sometimes this day passes with no fuss and sometimes it scratches and gnaws at the core of my soul. I now realize that I must be gentle on myself and pay close attention to where my mind wanders during a time when many celebrate without having known the grief that lies behind the shattered heart of a mother and/or daughter whose relationship is anything but a greeting card scenario.
Then again, many do intimately resonate with my emotions and my words. Many tender, unsuspecting souls have been in the ominous space of motherly chaos and grief. It must be felt to be understood. For all of us who have lost such a fragile connection, I write to validate the complex space in-between the happiness and sadness of our motherless experiences. Yes, it is true that we still laugh and life moves forward, but it is extremely important to validate and honor the part of ourselves that may still carry a deafening grief for what we lost and what we could not control.
It may take years for the pain to lighten its load on our hearts or it may take just a short while until we are reminded of all the things we still have to live for. The pain of loss will subside. I am not sure if it ever fully goes away, but I have noticed that, over time, it seems to lessen it’s choke-hold on my every thought. And for this, I am most grateful.
This is who I have become in the space between yesterday and today. I vow to hold space for the things that I have lost in my life and to validate all the things I have gained as a result of those losses. In choosing to become the authentic voice of my lived experience, it is my job to speak openly of my pain so that it transforms into something that has far more value than grief. I am not stuck on it, I am accepting it’s reality and it’s presence in my life. Being motherless is painful, and at the same time being a mother is a a huge responsibility; one that I aim to master for an entire lifetime.
Lesson Learned as a Mother
‘The most important part of my healing right now is that I fully comprehend that she could not give to me what she did not have to give. And that I, as a conscious loving mother, am who I am because she failed me. In closing all is as it should be.’ ~RLE
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Originally published at www.rebeccaledwards.com.