When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
from When Death Comes ~ Mary Oliver
I knew my mother for almost twenty years.
As of three days ago, she’s been gone twenty-two.
In that time I have learned to be my own Mother.
A good Mother and a CHALLENGING Mother.
I have asked time and again how she would have spoken to me or laughed with me
And the answer is – silence.
I was sad to lose her so early, but also fortunate – it has taught me to be more alive.
More myself, there was no Mother to influence me, so I had to be ME, on my own
In that time I have taught myself things she could not in the twenty years I knew her – to not be afraid, to have courage, to stand up sometimes – even when I’m told to sit, to say NO when I don’t want to do something, to say YES when I really want it!, to believe in myself, to believe that everything is possible.
All things that were hard for her – are no longer hard for me. Maybe, I’ve healed us both in the work I’ve done to Mother myself. I hope so.
Every year I think, “I’ll forget this year”, or I’ll not be reminded of the grief that took me nearly 15 years to overcome. But then April 7th comes around and I think of her, and now, because I am a good Mother to myself, I no longer try to stuff it away, and forget, instead I honor her, even if only in my thoughts. I honor her – good and bad – and the life she lived and think about the one she could have had.
I am grateful for having known her and grateful that she left me in time for me to become me.
Maybe your Mother was there in person, but absent? Or was there and oppressive? Or was never around at all? Or Mothered you fiercely in the exact right way? Or maybe you just don’t relate to one another?
In any case, I think taking care of yourself is a good skill to have.
How do you Mother your own self?