Yesterday, a dear friend met me at P.croissant for yummy eats and much needed conversation. With NM’s broken hip and replacement, over the past six months, life has been seriously disrupted. I went from making sure doors were closed and locked, unplugging the toaster, turning off the stove or oven, and other weird things, to those things and making sure EF is eating reasonably healthy, being prepared to call the emergency number, and cleaning house. No, I didn’t clean house with NM home. I couldn’t do it right, and she promptly made a mess of whatever I cleaned. I don’t believe in wasting my time if I can help it.
In January, I finally went as no contact as was possible and still live in the same house. I’d read Gavin de Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear.” The chapter on persistent behavior was a slap in the face, a wake up call. He gave examples. I recognized my own situation. I realized that engaging only dragged out an unhealthy interaction. Nothing could improve it. NM made her choice to stay unhealthy, and I chose to learn to be healthy. Never the twain could meet.
First came the hospitalization for repair, rehab, home, and then back to the hospital for replacement surgery. I watched NM struggle into the car and wondered if it would be the last time I’d see her. I felt no need to rush out and wish her well. I did not wish her ill, but I knew I couldn’t engage.
The first hospital stay, I sent a card. I regretted it. I became NM’s “sanity saver.” Not my responsibility. Not my job. I worked for a neurologist for ten years, typing records. No, I’m not an expert, but I heard him talk about symptoms and diagnoses and recognized mental health issues not related to the narcissism, word-finding difficulties, using completely wrong words, turning the body clock around. Again, I’m not an expert, so what I recognized didn’t carry any weight.
The second hospital stay, I stayed completely away. I didn’t feel guilty. I felt relief. They were planning to send NM home, again. I worried. Her mental health issues weren’t being addressed.
Gave the battle to God. God provided. Diagnoses made. Treatment planned. NM’s in a memory care center, with staff that understands the situation and knows how to make it easier for everyone. NM isn’t coming home.
I thought I’d be relieved. I am, sort of. More powerful is the sense of sadness. I didn’t expect that. It’s understood by everyone that it’s best I not visit. It was verbalized for the first time by someone else. I didn’t expect to feel hurt. Silly.
Enter my dear friend. She’s advised I mourn as much as possible now, while I still feel like I have a choice. The mourning needs to be more encompassing than the lack of a relationship with my own mother… the lack of a healthy relationship. That ship sailed long ago.
It is unwise and unhealthy to attempt to have a relationship with someone who chooses abuse and is unwilling to change.
I’ve allowed others to “mother” me a little from time to time, but I never entirely trusted those relationships. My relationship with my own mother was still too muddy. I’m ready to mourn and choose healthy.
What do I need to mourn?
The loss of the potential that was and will never be realized with my own.
The loss of my dream of being a mother, proving to myself I could do better. This one is not a complete loss. I mothered my dog and my horse. I also endeavored to protect my nieces and nephews.
The loss of trust in the mother/daughter relationship.
The loss of hope in my ability to have a healthy mother/child relationship. As much as I love my fur babies (may they rest in peace), it isn’t the same as a human child. My fur babies never grew up. I never had to send them off to college.
The loss of my trust in motherhood.
I dreamed about becoming a wife and mother. I planned. I prepared. It didn’t happen. I know it’s a blessing from God. I was never properly mothered. I need to learn to mother myself: Teach myself to eat healthy, dress attractively, behave like the lady I want to be, all the things I wish I’d been taught, all the things I wish I’d taught.
I think I’m already on the trail, as I reflect on the mothers I love in my stories.
I never expected this series of pictures to reflect so clearly how I’m feeling.