My Mother died recently.
I have made no secret of the fact that we were never close. I don’t think she ever really liked me and I certainly was more of a disappointment than a success in her eyes.
So when I received the news, I was shocked to find myself on my kitchen floor, sobbing like the child she always reduced me to. We hadn’t spoken in years. She had never seen Phoebe. She had not been part of my family for a very long time and yet her death still hit me.
All of the memories resurfaced. Arguments, door slamming, shouting, crying and feeling completely alone. I tried to recall happier memories but they did not want to be found.
I wasn’t sure if I was actually grieving, if I was even allowed to grieve for her as we had been estranged for so long. My siblings were the ones that were close to her and visited her and took care of her so what right did I have to even shed a tear?
When I lost my Dad it was much more straight forward. It hurt like hell and I cried and to this day still miss him. That, to me, at least, is what grief is supposed to be like. With my Mother, though, I felt more sadness over the person that I never had in my life, rather than losing the person that she was.
When I think about my relationship with my own children, I could not imagine not having them in my life, and I sometimes wonder if that is the legacy that she has left me. The fact that our relationship had broken down so completely, was a reminder of how important it is that we are part of each others lives.
Or maybe I am just a nicer human.
It is now 17 days since her death. I am not consumed by it. I do not really think about it. I have decided that I now no longer need to wear those labels I was given as a child. I no longer need to be a disappointment, as she is no longer here to judge me. I no longer need to feel hurt as she has gone and cannot hurt me anymore.
I choose to believe that she did not act this way intentionally. It was simply the way that she was and I am choosing to let it all go.
So, yes, I am grieving, for the Mother I wished I had had, but also for all that she missed out on in her later life. I am also grieving for the sad little girl who spent endless lonely nights in her room wondering just what she had done wrong this time.
Now we are both free.
Goodnight, Mum. I hope you have finally found some peace.