This post is part of an ongoing series created by Jana at An Attitude Adjustment called Spill it!, where bloggers wear their heart on their sleeves and share parts of themselves they might not otherwise feel comfortable discussing.
I have fewer than a handful of memories of my mother. In fact, even the few that I have I can barely recall. They are so hazy, they have no distinct edge. They are barely real.
Because I have so few memories there is nothing to hold on to. I have no knowledge of who she was, and how that translates into the person I am. It can be a lonely, confusing place to miss that part of myself.
As my children develop their own personalities, my husband and I can clearly see parts of ourselves in each of them. Both demonstrate personal attributes, beyond just the physical, that are obviously from us. To see ourselves reborn in them in these little ways is really quite extraordinary.
So it makes me wonder more intensely than every before what parts of me come from her? What connection do we have? I have no idea. My dad doesn’t talk about her. Ever. I don’t come from a family of good communicators. Painful memories, confrontation, anything awkward makes my father uncomfortable. But even if it didn’t, I’m not sure what he would have to offer. It’s not that I don’t think he loved her, it’s just that she is so much a part of his past that I think he has simply forgotten. Or maybe I do underestimate him. Maybe it really is too painful to talk about. Either way, we don’t. And I admit I haven’t found the courage to ask.
But it’s more. My mother had family. I have aunts and uncles and a grandmother. But I am physically and emotionally estranged from them. We have no relationship, we aren’t in touch with one another in any way. That is partly to do with how they treated my sister and I as children. They didn’t hurt us, but I wouldn’t say they loved us either. They’ve said and done things that are unforgivable. And so I can’t ask them either.
Can you imagine how painful it is to not know anything about my birth mother? To have no memories of the woman who birthed me and who most certainly loved me. One thing I do know is that just before she died she made my father promise to take care of her girls. And he has. Of that, let me be perfectly clear. But how I long to know how that love feels.
And how I long to know who she was. What did she dream of? What was her favourite colour? What music did she like to listen to? Did she read like me? What were her hobbies? Did she like the cold or perfect the summer heat? What were her hopes? What did her voice sound like? What she emotional, like me?
Nothing. I have nothing. No connection.
Without it, I don’t believe I will ever completely understand myself. I truly believe that because I lost her at such a young age, I lost a part of myself. The part that connects me in a primal way to my very existence.
Already I’ve outlived her by more than eight years. This further complicates my emotions. I find it odd that at such a young age, I’m already forging a path beyond the boundaries of her very existence.
And so here I am. At an impasse. Ready to move forward, but finding it so hard because I don’t know what doors to close, or even how to close them.
As a mother I know the importance of bond and connection. I offer it with complete conviction to my children. They must feel it, because I do. And yet I have no pieces of my own to put together. How can I solve my own puzzles without all the pieces?
Perhaps our mother’s don’t define us. I agree, we all eventually forge our own paths, but most of us do that based on the foundation of our mother’s love and guidance. A love that is honest and true and full of support.
I have no memories, positive or negative. I cannot conjure any feelings. There is no music, no smell, no sensation that brings her back. I can’t help but believe that if I were able to define her, my life would be so much richer. I think if I could I would be more whole and could move toward a place where I could accept myself completely.