Tomorrow is Mother's Day, here in the US, and I'm just not sure what I feel about it. Tomorrow will be the tenth Mother's Day I have spent without my mother, and the third without my daughter. I'm sure that my daughter will telephone me from her home in that most wonderful of cities, San Francisco, but there are no telephone numbers for the dead. The acuteness of grief for my mother waxes and wanes. Since my mother died, my father has also died, as well as my husband, and my dearest and oldest girlfriend, so I'm no stranger to grief, or to missing someone I love, but as I've said many times, there is something different when you are separated from your mother. There is something mystical about the relationship of mother and child, and when that bond is broken, there is an unfillable hole deep in your gut.
So, I've filled that hole with a lot of things - with food (I am now very, very fat), with laziness, with knitting, with painting, with busyness. I've filled that hole with everything and anything, and it remains, ten years after the fact.
I'm reminded of a series of photos my Dad took of me when I was a chubby toddler at the Inn. I was in my ruched blue bathing suit (which I clearly remember, by the way) with it's matching kerchief, and I was toddling around in the shallow water near the wooden steps on the side of the dock at the Inn. The water came up to my dimpled knees, and I wanted to sit on the sandy bottom. The problem was that the sandy bottom was covered by knee-high water. I thought about it for a while and figured out the solution - I got my bucket and carefully filled it with water, toddled a few steps away and deposited the water somewhere else. In the lake. I kept at this for quite a while, but never seemed to make any headway. The water where I wanted to sit was still knee high, no matter how many bucketfuls of water I carted away. My Dad captured it all in his trusty 35 mm.
I think I need to learn something about my life and my ways of coping from this memory. I work harder and harder. I fill my life with good things, with good people. I am very busy, with lots of plates spinning on their rods. I am very good at time management, and I get so much done - people are amazed - yet, I know deep down that I am lazy. So many things things that others do effortlessly are impossible for me: maintaining an orderly and clean home seems to be a daydream.
I am carrying a bucket of water from place to place and never reaching my goal. I'm not really sure what my goal even is, anymore.
I'm going to be 60 my next birthday. I'm not sad or upset about that in any way, but I recognize that the time I have left on earth is getting smaller, and I still haven't gotten this thing called life right yet. I'm still not sure that I'm headed in the right direction. As I look back (do I do too much of that?), I can see that my daughter's cancer 24 years ago was where I started to change directions, and with each loss or tragedy, I moved further along a path that has not brought me satisfaction or contentment. The choices I have made, including about the people that I have trusted with my innermost and most private self, have left me distrustful of my ability to make choices. So I don't make any. I play on FaceBook instead. I am far too busy with ever so many Very Important Things to properly research each and every possibility to make any choices, so I don't.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day, the tenth without my mother, who truly was able to hold a loving mirror to me and gently, but clearly, let me know when I was off base. I so miss your wisdom, Mom. I know that I am off base, but I don't know exactly where I am, or where I need to be. I'm just carrying buckets of water, and it is exhausting.
On the other hand, I am also a mother, and my daughter has been through so much in her short life. She is now in a good place, and I'm thankful. I hope that as time moves forward, I will be the kind of mother to her that my mother was to me. Whether I succeed or fail at that, is immaterial in a way, because I will love her, no matter what. Hopefully, she will always know that, deep in her bones, and that is what I'm holding onto this Mother's Day of 2015.