The Mother Load
The woman I thought would never die, did.
When I was ten, there was a girl in my class who had no mother. I don't remember anything about her other than that. At the time, I couldn't imagine anything worse.
I realize that a ten year old losing her mother is a tragedy. A 51 year old losing her mother is the ordinary course. Illogically, I feel orphaned. There should be something between tragedy and ordinary, and whatever it is, it's painful.
For most of my adulthood I worked hard to maintain a healthy separation from my mother. I sometimes over reached in my efforts, in ways I'm sure she found hurtful. I needed a reprieve from her intrusion, her enabling, her self destructive lifestyle. At the thought of her permanent absence, I only imagined relief.
Now I only miss her.
One of the many things she did that drove me crazy, I now admire - she lived her life exactly the way she wanted to, with no explanations or apologies.
And, here's the kicker - she never expected explanations or apologies from me either. And I can assure you I owed her some. Everyone raise their hand who shouldn't apologize to their mother.
That's what I thought.
My mother didn't come from a generation that sat around talking about their feelings, and she didn't. Ever. To my great annoyance. But now I realize she lived what she felt. No words necessary.
I knew she loved me and she knew I loved her. That's what it comes down to in the end.
But, I find myself in a mother-free limbo.
Where is my place in the world without my mother? Besides, next?
I'm still a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a writer.
But now, I'm no one's daughter.
Who do I call for a quick, invigorating tussle?
Who can I count on to disagree, disapprove?
Who has to love me even when I'm a jackass, a shit head?
And who has to always open her door for me?
When my mother died, all those certainties went with her and I'm adrift, feeling like a real grown up, responsible for myself without her as a safety net. And she could be the greatest safety net ever.
I don't believe death makes us better than we were in life. So, as much as I loved my mother I'm not about to elevate her to sainthood now that she's gone.
To say my mother was a saint would be an insult to her memory.
She was no saint. She was a card carrying human being with all the flaws and frailties that membership requires.
She was complex, hard to figure, often difficult.
But she loved everyone she knew the best way she could, with no hesitation, and she gave everything.
I didn't always agree with the way she went about it.
I didn't think she made the best choices.
We didn't often see eye to eye.
I didn't understand her.
But there's a hole in my life where my mother used to be.
12/1/2013 12:56:12 am
Thank you, John. It certainly rearranges our perspectives, doesn't it? Thank you for your comforting words, I really appreciate them.
12/15/2013 11:12:22 pm
I remember you as Kathy Ann and you're still a beauty. Maybe you remember my mom, Jean, your mom's sister in Milwaukee. I also seem to recall that I'm your godmother. We were all sorry to hear about your mom; unfortunately I missed Aunt Pat when she came to visit my mom, who died in 2007. Grief and memory are long roads. Heal with new strength.
11/29/2013 06:20:30 am
I'm so sorry for your loss. The hole may never be completely filled, but allow those who love you to give it their best try. My best to you and your family.
12/1/2013 12:53:54 am
Thank god for my family. They're rockstars as always. Thanks for your comforting comment, I really appreciate it.
11/29/2013 09:46:42 am
No words. Just empathy. I'm terrified to lose a parent.
11/29/2013 10:49:38 am
12/1/2013 12:52:57 am
Thank you, Angie. And thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.
11/30/2013 12:31:35 am
Yes there is a hole left and a feeling of being left an orphan. I can truly sympathize with you Kathleen - just lost my mom this past June. It gets better as the months pass, but life will never ever be quite the same without our moms. I'm so sorry for your loss and wish you better days ahead!
12/1/2013 12:52:19 am
My husband says the same. He has never quite gotten over losing his dad. So, some losses are permanent wounds that hopefully heal at least a little as time goes on. Thank you for reading, Marcia, and for taking the time to offer comforting words. I appreciate it.
11/30/2013 01:30:13 am
Kathleen, I'm so, so sorry to hear of your loss. And it's completely not illogical that you feel orphaned - whatever else you may be, you were still her little girl. And now you still are, but without her, and that's a massive and painful adjustment to make.
12/1/2013 12:50:50 am
So many cliche's apply to these situations. And I'm experiencing all of them. Wish I had...fill in the blank...but I do cherish my memories. Even the ones that weren't so great. Thank you for your kind thoughts.
I am sorry for your loss. My father died in August, so I have some sense of what you might be feeling. I don't think it matters if you are 10 or 51 (or 55 as I am) losing a parent is huge.
12/1/2013 12:49:11 am
Yes, I think losing your parents is a very grown up thing. It happens to all of us, but feels like its only happening to us when it does. Thank you, Yvonne.
11/30/2013 07:52:27 pm
This is so raw and honest, Kathleen. The idea of being motherless is painted so perfectly. Who is now required to open her door for you, no questions asked? What a powerful question. I have often contemplated what a lonely feeling it will be when my mother is gone. She's my quick phone call about cooking, my excited text message when my kids do something new, and a shoulder to cry on about the same issue for 10 years in a row. No questions asked. Having that taken away is terrifying. My heart aches for you. Thank you for taking to pen and paper - er, keyboard - to work through your feelings of loss. It's a beautiful tribute to your mother. I'm so sorry, Kathleen.
12/1/2013 12:47:55 am
Thanks, Elizabeth. It still hasn't totally hit me yet. I know I'll pick up the phone to call her and then remember. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate them.
12/1/2013 12:46:37 am
No, I don't think we do. Thank you for your *hugs* we all need them in times like these.
So sorry about your loss. Your writing, and your ode to your mother bot honor her memory. I have a mother who doesn't express her feelings and who is the first to shake a disapproving head...but as I get older (I'm in my 30s) I realize I love her so very much. I have worked to put physical distance between us - and we get along so much better when we do - but your post makes me realize: I owe her explanations, too. Love your words and thoughts. I feel so humbled...and filled with awe at how much you have moved me. xo
12/1/2013 05:02:54 am
Thank you, Cyndi. I'm surprised at how much I miss my mom. She drove me crazy, but still...she was my mom and I loved her. As you do yours. Life is funny that way, we only know how much people mean to us when they're gone. Thank you for reading and sending kind condolences. I appreciate it.
1/6/2014 01:40:10 am
As I get older I appreciate my mother more. My father, on the other hand.... Great Post.
1/6/2014 11:12:12 pm
Thank you. It's tough, I miss her. I appreciate you reading and commenting.
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IF YOU LIKE THE BLOGS YOU'LL LOVE THE NOVELS IN HER TWISTED CRIME SERIES