The Whole Nine Yards

Ah, once again it is Mother’s day.  A day that we do one of a few things.  We love our mother down to our toes and thank her for life!  Or, we reluctantly send a card or flowers out of obligation or guilt  because we are still hurt that she has disappointed us as our mother.

But for many we don’t do anything.  An action sometimes born out of the wounds of childhood and an act of resentment.  But, none the less, this time every year we make a choice on how we approach Mother’s day. Each year we have one Hallmark moment to do it differently.  To change course and create what it is we truly want.

I am approaching the year anniversary of my Mother dying.  The anniversary of my leaving Oklahoma after years of being a caretaker for my mother.  Those years changed me.  Changed my resentment to joy  and in the end was a singular time of coming to terms with who my mother really is , which has everything to do with who I am today.  My mother  is me.  I am my mother and in loving her I love myself.  Not an easy task for many of us. Certainly not for me.

And I found a piece of writing I want to share with you about my struggle toward forgiving her and allowing myself to be human in the process of my life with her and in the time of her dying. I look back on those days before she died and am grateful for the painful, agonizing, heart wrenching, lovely, sweet time I had with her.  I hope you find this writing a catalyst to seeing your own mother more clearly and embracing a path of forgiveness and love. But most of all that you will do something different this Mother’s Day…something truer to your own nature of love, more giving, more spacious, and more of exactly what you have always wanted from your mother.

“I hold my breath with my mother. I remember not breathing in her presence as a child. Waiting to be criticized in all the details of life and not seen in any of the large ways I occupy myself. These patterns persist as I live in her presence and she perpetuates all the old ways I was with her as my mother. Being in a caretaker role is very confusing for the child in me and the adult in her who is feeling much more like a child these days. I cannot see her as this child for how strong her controlling and fearful personality is in every moment. I cannot find the child in me that is not wounded either. And yet in my spiritual journey this is what I called for in being her daughter and she my mother. I called for a time when I would reverse roles and I would behave toward her as she behaved toward me when I was young. I detest my own behavior because I am being just like she was with me. If I persist in this role with her I will no longer be able to stay here and I will need to deal with the guilt of failing myself and her in this endeavor.

That is one story. The other story is that she is simply a soul searching for herself and unable to find her own connection to spirit and is in a panic that time is running out. She has looked to me for that guidance and I refuse to give that to her out of anger and resentment. She is disappointed in the fact that I have not helped her in this way. This is a past life story between us when I were once her priest and did not give her a time of confession before she died, letting her die feeling alienated from God. The pain of that was unbearable for her and as her priest in this other life I carried the guilt of failing her. This karmic story is trying to be healed in this arrangement as I live with her. I cannot be her priest but I do have the power to extend forgiveness to her in this life from my own heart, releasing her to go on and in doing so end the karmic nature of our relationship and alleviating the guilt I have for not having “saved” her in this other life.

This is a very difficult confluence of energies trying to iron themselves out and I struggle with the depth of this problem. But I must understand that in this arrangement that I chose and she chose, that there is grace for the asking. That I can simply not expect myself to be her savior, but I can release myself and forgive myself for being human, for letting her down, for letting myself down and I do not have to do this perfectly. Can I give myself that? The right to be imperfect? The right for my mother to be imperfect? Can I just let go of my ancient need to be loved by my mother and simply learn to love myself?  Even if I do not do this commitment as well as I had expected? I can walk away. I can choose myself. I can also finish this time with grace and with a kind of simplicity, treating her as I would a lost child that cannot find her way…just like me. Pointing her back to herself by being myself fully. That is all this is really about. Not about caretaking at all but about being myself. Fully flawed and imperfect and joyful and loving and angry and sad. All of it …all the messy whole nine yards of being human. The real story is about the humility of being human and in that realization I am truly divine and my mother is the divine. Ahhh the paradox of it all!

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