My mother was a mentally unstable person who inflicted a lot of abuse on her children. I could find some way to sugar coat that, but I won’t. It’s the truth.
But, wait, isn’t there a rule that we don’t speak ill of the dead?
That idea has caused so much pain to those who are trying to come to terms with the death of a less-than-loved one. We need to throw that idea out and allow people to own their feelings. Just because someone has died is no reason to elevate them to sainthood. They were here. They are gone. They did some good things in life. They did some bad things in life.
I know when my mom died, and I told my manager at work about it, she immediately sent this gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I felt like a hypocrite accepting them because I wasn’t grieving the passing of my mother. I thought grieving was about being sad someone was gone, and missing them, and that wasn’t me. But I was grieving. I just didn’t recognize it at the time.
What I did feel at first was a feeling of safety. I felt like I had my life back. Even though I had not spoken to her for many, many years, I still carried the emotional weight of her on my shoulders. I heard her voice in my head.
What amazed me, though, was that the tears came months before she actually died, while she was on the decline. My brother had called to say that she had another stroke and they thought the end was coming. I got off the phone and suddenly started crying, and the crying felt like it was never going to end. I asked myself what was going on, and discovered that I was grieving the mother I never had, the mother she could never be to me.
Grief is the reaction to loss, and in this case it was the loss of my hopes, dreams and expectations that I could have a loving mother. She never, ever said she loved me. She wasn’t capable of that. I was finally adult enough to recognize it, and the anger I felt toward her was gone, but inside I was still that vulnerable child longing for love.
Here is some more information about dealing with the death of a less-than-loved one from the Grief Recovery Institute.
As always, you are welcome to share your experiences, tell your stories, or just ask questions.
Thank you for being here today, and for caring.
Blessings and hugs,