Growing up, you rarely think of your mother as a person, someone with dreams and hopes of her own. That realization comes later, usually after you’re on your own and have experienced a bit of life without the comforting buffer of parents. I was a mother myself when I hit that particular wall and I remember it clearly. I was struggling to create a very different family dynamic and learning firsthand how hard it can be to break out of an old, damaging pattern.
Looking at childhood pictures like the one above, I can conclude that I was a happy little girl. As I grew, though, I could feel the lack of affection in our home, both physical and verbal. My parents didn’t hug or kiss us, and they weren’t openly affectionate with each other either. My father had definite ideas of ‘proper’ behavior. I don’t remember hearing the words ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you’ spoken, not until long after I’d left the family home.
It took me many years and the gentle wisdom of my daughter to begin healing the wounded inner child who still looked out at the world through my adult eyes. With her guidance, I came to understand that people can’t give abundance to others from an empty well, and love is defeated by keeping a mental accounting. Knowledge brings wisdom, but also responsibility–that of forgiving others, as well as myself. The act of forgiving is relatively simple; the challenge lies in releasing old hurts.
By the time my mother passed away we had grown into a comfortable relationship, one of honesty and mutual respect. I miss her every day, the sound of her voice, the twinkle in her eyes, the feel of her cheek against mine, soft as old worn linen. I find comfort in sensing her spirit near me; I carry her with me as I focus on her lasting gifts, an appreciation of the beauty of nature (birds and flowers, in particular, which have become the focus of my photography), a love of reading and cooking. These are the things I choose to remember; to do otherwise is to drink daily from a poisoned cup.
The past is exactly that–over, finished, beyond our ability to alter. Turn the page. Better still, burn the book, and give yourself the priceless gift of serenity. My hope in sharing this is that you will find the courage to move forward, your spirit imbued with love and light, to create your future.
It’s waiting for you.