Mom died 6 years ago today. An Ode to Mom…
Mother Daughter relationships? Books are written about them, so intertwined, close and deep. Since I only had one Mother it’s not fair to say this, but I think the more complicated ones are the hardest to grieve, and missed the most.
My mother left me a poem given to me after her death. It said, “Don’t cry at my grave.”
Of course I did, many times. Hating graveyards in the past, I frequented hers, once falling to the ground weeping for my loss, holding out my arms like an embrace to the earth, to her… never having the chance again to say more.
At least something in me brought me to her bedside the day before her dying. “Mom, I’m sorry.”
“But I should apologize to you?” Her crystal blue eyes on me.
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You never left me. I held rage for you all my life, never letting it go, yet you stuck by me, no matter what.”
I wrote the poem below after her death, in pain unlike I ever felt, a cloak of heavy pain that went on for several years, though each year became easier.
And I would not have been able to reach this point, to feel sorry for my own behavior, and to have forgiven her, if I had not asked the hard questions. And I asked them only the last years of her life, when she dragged around the oxygen hose slugging the walker slowly from room to room; when disease and dying was staring her in the face.
“You blamed me,” I told her, anger erupting over the phone, the only place I feel relatively safe to confront someone.
“No, I did not!” she expressed shocked.
She meant it. Yet as a little girl with her sitting across from me in my bedroom, hot shaming tears dripping a fiery path down my cheeks onto my lap as she told me, “Tell me if it ever happens again.” I felt admonished, made responsible, as if I had the power to not only stop it but would be helped if I told. I had told before after Danny’s attack and she hadn’t helped me then. But we didn’t talk about that. We didn’t talk about what needed to be talked about. No wonder I raged. Talk quells fires as if washed by the rain.
But I couldn’t. Not until she was weakened by infirmity, age and disease. Oz was exposed as mere human after all. But she loomed so greatly above me all those years. Now equals. Two women with heartache finally talking. My mom.
It haunted me. That fall after she died I carried my guilt heavy. The therapist I chose lifted me. She said it was good that Mom cried all day after I had finally asked her the difficult questions. Well, I didn’t think it was ‘good’ at all, but the therapist helped me let go of the guilt and I went on OK, believing Mom would not want me to suffer over it. Because after she died, I realized just how much she did love me and how much she helped me despite the childhood years when she did not.
Is one moment enough? One moment of pure love Over an entire lifetime?
Was it enough for her? Is it enough for me?
Our love/hate relationship, Hate finally ending
When her life was ending, Etching my heart
With wishes for more. Something said I didn’t like,
Still I did not waver from her gaze. Her eyes purely lit, she knew.
She had been waiting for it, The usual criticism did not come.
One moment. We had One moment Of pure Love