My heart broke this afternoon to arrive to see my Mum in her chair in the hospital arms wrapped around her shrinking body rocking with her head down. I wrapped my arms around her and cried. She spoke of her anxiety attacks and how finally one of the doctors had asked her about her emotional history. Thank God they finally began to make some connections between what she has gone through emotionally and the physical ailments that are besieging her. I wish my Mum had found somewhere to pour out her pain years ago when she struggled to deal with the abandonment issues that led her first daughter to collapse. I think now it is a case of not enough and too late.
I emotionally connect to my Mum only when we are alone. When my sister is there or there are other visitors Mum stays silent about her pain. It may be good that the focus is off of her pain for a while but at the same time there is so much I feel she needs to share. I am under no illusions that I am my Mum’s saviour but I know how painful grief and isolation are. I look back with sadness at the time I needed to ask for or lean on my Mum’s support but could not due to an old pattern. I got angry or fearful and ran. I can not have those lost years back, over 13 years now that saw the end of my marriage which also hurt my Mum so deeply and led me to a deeply isolated place from which I am only now beginning to emerge.
I know I didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ but choosing the actions I did led me to more isolation, at the time I was in recovery for addiction so my emotional awareness had not yet begun to open up. I did not know how I would deal with what was below the surface if I reached towards those who were struggling with their own pain and so several times I took myself off alone. Its confusing as I probably could have healed on my own at a safe distance years ago, but now I don’t feel that either me or my mother can. Our healing or coming to peace involves our need to connect and come out of the prison of emotional isolation that seems to have dogged us like a curse along the multi generational line.
It was so hard to leave the hospital just over an hour ago, but I knew I had to come home to take care of my dog Jasper and myself too. Without self care there is nothing for me to give to anyone else. I am so sad that I cannot connect with anyone else in my family at this level at the moment. My nephew who I thought I was close to has not returned my calls. The sad fact is that fear keeps many members of my family emotionally distant and disconnected from each other, that and a stoic kind of self sufficiency and concern with material worldly things that ultimately, to my mind, seem unimportant at the level of heart.
Sad as the situation is though, I must accept it. I can only give the love I feel and I can pour out my disappointment about my family’s lack of emotional availability with my therapist, Kat who understands. Modern life seems so busy and superficial at times. People shake their heads when someone chooses to end their life as if its a great mystery as to what made them do it. “Why didn’t they reach out?” they bemoan. But when did that actually pick up the phone to say “How are you, and how are you feeling?” How many people end up suiciding because for years they were never truly seen at an emotional level? Of course if we feel desperate we can and should open up emotionally but what I feel is more of a problem for our society is how deaf we have become to essential matters of the heart with our rampant preoccupation with the cult of materialism and individualism. Its a deep dark truth and its one we need to change.