April 6, 2011

I Knew It Would Happen One Day

My mother passed away unexpectedly on Monday.

I haven't written about this until today because my thoughts were not connecting in any clear way to words which would articulate the feelings I have, the relationship I had with my mother or the impact her passing has on my life.

My mother had a significant mental illness most of her life.  This illness prevented her from being a whole person, a healthy partner in marriage and a capable parent.  Through two marriages, two sets of children, many jobs, moves, physical illnesses and stages of her life, she was always suffering, unable to find relief from her torment, unable to accept love and to find peace.

After many years of estrangement, I came back into my mother's life last summer.  Ironically, now burdened with dementia and early Alzheimer's, she had finally found some relief from her mental torment. 

Through therapy, education and distance I had long since forgiven her for things which she had no control over but which greatly impacted my childhood, my own mental health and later my adult life.  Our relationship, one which had roots in maternal love but gradually withered under the onslaught of mental illness, and my subsequent need to break free for my own survival, has always been a part of me.  It has crept into the crevices of every relationship I've ever had, fueled many of my life's choices and defined some of the sharpest corners of my self.  
  
Although I knew it would happen one day, this watershed event in every person's life- the death of one's mother- I never knew exactly how I would feel.  Driving back home today after taking care of some of the arrangements it finally hit me.  All the appropriate feelings are there picking at my heart and making my soul ache but I finally realized today that they are old feelings.  I had grieved the loss of my mother many many years ago.  What's now left is immense sadness for her life and the waste of a relationship that was never viable.  

Strangely though, much like the feeling of a very sore muscle, behind the sadness there is relief.  I feel relief that her physical  and emotional suffering is now over.  I feel relief she is no longer confined to a bed in the only care home her state funds could afford.  I feel relief she is no longer afraid, no longer so very sad and no longer feels so alone.

I believe that those who had always loved her but have since passed were there to greet her and to gently take her hand, kiss her cheek and welcome her, finally to a peace which she never knew her whole life.  

That thought bring peace to my heart.  As my mother I think she would find peace in that too.















15 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I live in terror of the day my mother will die. You explain in this post so beautifully the complexities of feelings around losing the first and perhaps the most important relationship of one's life. Saying a prayer for you both.

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  2. I'm sorry for you losses, both the fresh one and the older wound. May she have found her peace, and that peace find you as well.

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  3. Im so very sorry for you losing your mum. Know that I am thinking of you, even though I dont know you. People in the blogging world can be here to support you through this and your quest to become a mum

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  4. I can tell from your post that you had a lot of respect and love for your mom. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  5. Jenni said it well... I'm so sorry for your fresh and older loss. It's so sad when a mother can't be a mom to her kids. You found very profound words to describe how you are feeling. Wishing you peace!

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  6. I'm sorry for all of your losses. I hope that you can also find peace.

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  7. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you have a sense of relief and peace.

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  8. I'd like to echo what Jenni said. I'm sorry for the loss you're experiencing now and all the loss you went through in the past. You are in my thoughts.

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  9. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

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  10. So sorry for the loss of your mother. I also am estranged from a mentally ill mother who couldn't be a good parent so your words have tremendous meaning for me.

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  11. I am truly sorry for your loss. ((hugs))

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  12. i am so very sorry for your loss.

    Dementia/Alzheimers is a horrible disease, one i see in many of my clients plus my own nana had it for near on 15 years.

    and for the record, when you pass over, you never pass over alone, you are always met by people you know who have already passed before you....so she did not pass alone.

    ~x~

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  13. I missed this post or would have commented sooner. I am so very sorry for your loss.

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  14. I'm so very very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Thinking of you. xx

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Thoughts?