For my mother

I wrote this piece a few months ago, recovering from my breast cancer surgery.  I can’t help feeling, reading it back, that that surgery and its aftermath forced me back down to face a lot of the trauma I and my mother have lived through.  Around the time of my surgery she hurt her leg and was unable to be there for me in any practical way.  It really hurt as my sister was totally supported for the three months following her own breast cancer surgery.  I had to go through the hurt and pain then and it reached a head as Sun moved towards its opposition with Saturn.  Today we have the New Moon with both Sun and Moon in Gemini opposing Saturn in my maternal fourth house.  Today I am clearing out my drafts file so I am going to post this today.  The New Moon sets off my Pluto Chiron opposition that hits my Mars Saturn Moon, the maternal legacy I inherited and am living onward now:

Sometimes I cannot see beyond my own hurt and pain.  And maybe that is the way it needs to be when old hurt and pain is activated by new hurt.  I get reactive and defensive in the midst of it and I want to push away that which hurts me.

Its hard to stop and stay still enough to open up and really feel it and allow the letting go and the release.  I want to control. I want to hit out and fight back, but if I tighten my grip, bear down, hold on and bite down hard I end up making it far worse than it originally was.

And sometimes I don’t see in the naked harsh moment that in fact it was an innocent mistake, that you didn’t mean to make, that it occurred just due to thoughtlessness on your part or for some other reason that took you away.  And it gets hard to see there is another point of view away from my personal concerns, a far larger vista or panorama that contains a deeper truth than I can see.

This doesn’t mean that my point of view is wrong or bad, it only means that at times it is limited and in order to see more clearly I need to extend myself beyond mine to embrace you and yours.

Tonight its hard to get to bed.  I am thinking of you alone in that apartment.  I am thinking of how alone you were on those nights as a child when your mother was not there.  I am thinking of all the painful things you witnessed starting with my accident in 1979, followed 6 months later by your older daughter’s cerebral bleed, her following psychosis and abandonment. The death of your beloved husband a few years later and two years later the death of your mother.  Of the new relationship you ran to, to find relief from the and the pain that came from the grief you failed to face fully then.

I am thinking of the hope you felt when I met my husband and the sadness you felt when I ran out on it due to my own attempts to heal my trauma following my arrival in recovery and his inability to empathise and understand.

I am thinking of how you found your daughter splayed on the floor following an overdose 3 years ago, of the way in which you struggled to support both of us as we went through our own separations.  I am aware that its not really right that you should be living alone at this age, that you need a blanket of love and care wrapped around you.  I am thinking of how as real as my own pain is and my own need is, yours is just as deep, probably deeper and more painful as you haven’t been able to seek support for healing.

Knowing all this at present makes it hard to want to let go into sleep. Almost as though if I don’t fall asleep I wont be abandoning us both again.

Will the accumulated tension become too much in the night for you?  Will we see you tomorrow?  I love you Mum, so many times when I wanted to be close I pulled away as it felt too much of a burden and I wanted to be so very away from this deep dark place of trauma and remembrance and your ability to embrace it was limited though I see now the ways you did try.

I ran and ran but with all the running I was only running towards the past I had to confront by returning here after everything fell apart for me five years ago.  You couldn’t affirm it fully.  “Put it behind you”, you said.  I had to go through it, Mum.  How I wish we could have done that together.  Why did you push me away sometimes?

So many tears have been shed since then. Two years ago at this time there was still time to visit my sister in the home before she was taken into a coma from which there was to be no return.  I remember the vigil by her bedside while we awaited the arrival of her only absent eldest son, then living in Singapore.  We needed his ascent to take my sister off life support.  I remember holding her hand and asking her not to leave, but knowing too, it was time to let her go.  I forgot she was your baby long ago, the one you held in your arms and loved.  I had not fully realised until I read the letters she left, the loss you felt when she moved to  another country when she was only 19 and how you missed her every day.

There is so much you have endured in your 91 years of living, Mum.  I cannot take that pain away.  I came back here to be with you and Jude because I could not abandon you both.  And in not abandoning you I lost so much, there was a huge part of my life I had to put to death and yet the return was for the purpose of this journey which has been a grieving through and a feeling of all the feelings so that I could be released in these past years from this dark night which so often felt all consuming and endless.

I had to dive into the deep pit alone and there was no company at times.  And yet all along the work was not only for me.  But you also have experienced the dark pit.  And now you need so much tenderness around you.  I have never felt you as quiet as you were tonight.  I watched your hands under the table reaching for each other.  I had a feeling you may not stay on this earth and that Pluto’s second opposition to its natal place may be the farewell, but hopefully not before you see your great grandsons as your own daughter never could.  So very sad, that knowledge for you, Mum.

Its getting late Mum.  I don’t know if I can keep the all night vigil. In the words of that poem I wrote so many years ago.

Somewhere from deep within I hear a baby crying

It has been crying for centuries

I want to comfort that child I really do.  I want to comfort you.  I wish you were not alone now.  I wish you were not alone.  And yet when death comes for you, you will be alone, like all of us will have to face that passage alone and we will have to let you go as we let Jude go, two years ago.  For nothing lasts forever and love only lasts as long as there is someone left to remember with a heart that beats.

3 thoughts on “For my mother

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