I’m stuck by the numbers of young people who impulsively take their own lives for no “good” reason. Many of these kids come from loving homes, at least by the amount of grief expressed, they appear loving. But perhaps, although I haven’t watched the “16 reasons why” show streaming (yet), perhaps there are actually reasons. So, I’m one of those kids who tried to take their life when I was 13. It wasn’t a gesture. It was a real attempt. A full bottle of 200 aspirin is a real attempt. It didn’t work. You could say I got lucky, but I will tell you that it wasn’t just an impulse. The attempt might have been an impulse but the feeling had been brewing for a long time.
What’s bringing this all up for me? Mother’s Day. I don’t think I will see any of my children this Mother’s Day. I will be spending it with my mother and sister and many others I love and I’m looking forward to it. All of us are pulled in many different directions and have many obligations. I understand that. What makes mother’s day the hardest for me is my relationship with my mother. Since my father was abusive or absent, I spent most of my therapy time dealing with my anger towards him….and I never really addressed my resentment towards her for not protecting me, actually she was the one who set me up in the bull’s path so she was the cause for much of my abuse. But one thing I still knew even then, and it’s probably why I survived. I knew the bull loved me. My mother in her later years finally says now “I love you”, but somehow, it doesn’t reach my heart as real. I think you have to hear it when you’re young to believe it. I know she did loving things. I remember multiple occasions of her rubbing my knees with alcohol when they hurt so bad I couldn’t sleep. But moms in the 50s didn’t have all the instructions and information mom’s have now. We didn’t have any sleep ritual involving reading. And we didn’t have much quality family time. And when my mother went to the doctor about my standing at the top of a 16 step staircase in a 3 flat, and holding my breath until I passed out and fell down – he told her to “ignore it, and it will stop” and yep, that did work. Nowadays any moron would know something was seriously wrong and try to figure out what it was.
I understand that technically, my mother lost her mother when she was 3 when her father died. It was during the great depression, and he had an accident with the car. He was working on it, it was wind up cars then in 1933, and it ran him over as he worked on it. He died gradually over a prolonged year or so, and I’m sure my grandmother was absent emotionally. My aunt who was 8 years older took on the childcare for my mother. Her childhood also ended at that time. Times were different, and my aunt did the best she could. While my aunt attended school, my mother was alone in her crib. Needless to say, what happened, happened, and I’m sure she did the best she could. My aunt today is an amazing woman in her 90s. I can talk to her about anything and I love her dearly.
My brother and sister in law won’t be attending the Mother’s day celebration. In the last piece; “finding the gift in the sorrow” that was my brother who finally admitted after 50+ years that he also found our family life and lack of love astounding, first when he had his own children, and later again when he had his own grandchildren. Later in the day this sunday, we will go spend time with them in a separate Mother’s day celebration. My mother feels so hurt not to be invited to that. She doesn’t understand that her failure to protect my brother from the recent abuse (a lawsuit) was the final straw to end a relationship from the stoic boy who never complained. She never learned from her mistakes. Sad.
Emotionally, my father’s mother felt more like my mother. She died suddenly when I was 11. I grieved my “mother” when she died. She is the only one I remember who made me feel cherished. Between that age and age 40, I’ve never felt that loved again except by my second husband Rich, and believe me when I tell you the power of a love like that can really transform your life. But I do recognize, not everyone missed getting that from their parents. The more love we have in our lives, the more supported and propped up we feel. How lucky those people are who go through lives not fearing that the love they get is conditional, and based on looks, abilities or other things. To go through life knowing they are lovable from the very beginning, just because they are here. Wouldn’t that be an amazing thing? If we all felt this way? So for the rest of us, maybe today we can look at the earth and imagine it is here to prop us up. We can look at nature and the sky and try to think, this beauty is here for us to enjoy and make us feel full and that we’re part of something bigger and beautiful and that thing is life. We might look at our pets and feel we are here to provide them and they us this unconditional love. We might look at flowers and butterflies as just miracles of beauty here to delight us.
Yoga uses the lotus flower as one of it’s main symbols, because the lotus flower grows and blooms out of the mud and emerges miraculously and majestically. Today, we can strive to be the lotus flower.