Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mother Wounds...

Going Menopausal: Reflections of a 51 Year Old Woman On Her Family, Her Life And Her God
Rambling #7:
(Warning: brutal honesty ahead)

"You are the Sandwich Generation"
"The what?"  I blurted.
"The Sandwich Generation.  You know, not only do you have children and a family to care for, you have your elderly parents to care for as well. Thus the Sandwich Generation."

I had just shared with a medical acquaintance about my mother's illness and her homecoming, the implications of her care and my father's best efforts.  Her words rumbled through my brain for the next day and a half.
The Sandwich Generation.  
Why do we name everything?

True to my natural nature, the name made me angry. And the processing, which had begun when my father first told me my mother was ill, continued.
It's not just being the Sandwich Generation.  

It's the working through my childhood which was generally fine, except for the part where I was the sole emotional support of my mother.

This continued on into my adulthood until she began to separate herself, pull away and isolate in her later years.  During her isolation I longed for her support and attention in my life and my family's lives.  Her only interest being her favorite preacher's sermons, her detective shows or real life court cases. 

But one day I realized I had never had it.  
Not really. 
She is limited. 

I guess all people are limited in their own unique ways.  Limited from unseen scars created from wounds hidden deep.

Through my unique mother/daughter relationship I learned to be in tune to everyone else's emotions. I think subconsciously I felt responsible for their happiness just as I always had for my mother when I was a child.  

If I was just the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect Christian then my mother would be happy. If I thought like my mother and believed in God just as she did, if I saw the world just as she did, then she'd be happy.

Trouble was, it didn't work.

I carried this on into my adult life too. 

If I was just the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect homeschool instructor then everyone in my family would be happy and safe.

And God would be happy too.

And then childhood cancer struck and the lie was shattered into a million pieces carried on God's powerful wind of change.

It was just beginning.

Lately, I've been very difficult to be around and live with as my mind, soul, spirit and heart have been circling through this new era of my life's journey demonstrated through my emotional ventings and lots of snotty tears.
And for this, I apologize to my family.  I am grateful they tolerate and love me.

Most especially my husband.

I took care of my mother this morning, so my father could enjoy a long morning of cycling.  It is Father's Day weekend, after all.  Truth be told, my attitude stunk as I helped her shower, dried her off, helped her dress, helped her go pee, made her lunch, clipped her toenails and sat and tried to chat.  

I was not mean or cruel or even unkind. 

I was weary.

And I listened to a sermon later that day about being like Christ in our service to others.
And the anger seethed up again.
I do not want to care for elderly parents.
I do not want to care for my family.
Horrible.  I know.
I feel like a toddler having a tantrum shouting:  "But I don't want to!"

And I realize it's not the physical part of taking care, it's the emotional care.

I am emotionally exhausted.
Emotionally drained.
Emotionally fatigued.

God, have I passed this on to my daughters?

Jesus promises to heal.  Often we think of it as a physical healing, but emotional healing, I believe, is much more valid.

People talk a lot about dying and the fear of dying.  They talk a lot about how we need Jesus so we can go to heaven.
But it's the Living that is hardest.  

It's the Living, even with Jesus, day in and day out that is challenging and painful and agonizing and heartbreaking.

I called a girlfriend, whose mother is an alcoholic. Her mother had never been there for her, not ever, and I asked her how she coped.  She said she had "no expectations" of her mother, therefore; she never felt let down.   And she said she had disconnected emotionally from her long ago.
Is that healing?

How do I choose to allow God to heal me emotionally? 

How does He get deep inside of me to wash away the ache filling it with joy and peace and forgiveness?

I know my mother has deep, deep pain.  She chooses to ignore it, stating it's not there.  She refuses to discuss anything that she considers painful.  She won't look at past pictures. She rarely allows her picture to be taken.  She won't tell her siblings about her illness.  She won't allow us to tell people who love her about her surgery, her diagnosis. She won't talk about the pathology report. "It's too painful" she'll say.

She doesn't let anyone in.
Life, for my mother, is emotional pain.

Just before my mother got sick, I met with a vibrant young woman in a coffee shop.  She stopped our conversation and began to pray for me, right then and there.
She saw my mother wounds.
And she made a comment that stuck with me.  Her words were something like this... 

"Holy Spirit, you are the female part of the Trinity.  Nurture this woman as a mother would." 

"Heal her mother wounds." 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Once upon a time...

There was a little girl who thought she lived in a normal family. 

But when she went to bed each night she heard the screaming  and the arguments through the doors and she pulled the covers up over her ears to block out the noise.
She grew up with younger brothers and she bossed them and fought and told them what was what.

And her father was a stranger and her mother was her best friend.
Like sisters.  

Something wasn't right.

And one day she realized not all parents were like hers. 

Some parents actually loved each other. 

And she swore deep in her psyche,
where she wasn't awake yet,
the place where the conscience can't see,
that she'd have the perfect family someday. 

With lots of babies and a husband that loved her and life would be wonderful.
And she met her prince and she moved away and her mother was lost and she ignored it.
She gave birth to babies and more babies and she homeschooled and taught Bible dressed in denim because she thought that was godly.  

And she taught rules and morals and god and laws and she strove and strove and gave her blood, 
her heart, 
her soul.

And she began to grow weary.
And one day her baby and only son was diagnosed with cancer and the journey of hell began.
And when it finished no one was left unscathed.

And her faith was shaken, 
still there, 
but different.

And her daughters struggled and her son survived.
But her mother also the grandmother
was absent through the hell.

It was "too painful" and her mother isolated herself choosing to live in a bubble with denial and false faith, hiding away from reality and people.
Her mother took no risks to avoid pain.

And the little girl struggled and argued and knew her mother was lost, but there was nothing to do, but love her babies and serve 
and live 
and breathe 
and face life.
And one day her mother told her father she was sick.  

Her mother had been sick a long time, but had hidden it away like she'd hidden her life.  

And it was serious and it was scary and she wanted no one to know.
Her mother let no one in.
And so the little girl left her alone for the most part.  

The little girl was silent as she drove her to the doctor appointments and she waited during the surgery and she said nothing and she let her mother live in her little world closed up tight. 
And the little girl was angry and confused and sad.
But through this, the little girl discovered she had created the family she had dreamed of after all.
Because Love walked among them.

They talked and shared and cried together.  

Her daughters were grown.  

Her son was old beyond his years.

The hell had shaped them.

They let each other in.

They laughed and fought and loved beyond measure.

It wasn't perfect, but it was everything she had hoped for.