Sunday, November 01, 2009

Ephemeral

I've written a few posts about my mother on here, so I imagine a lot of you know that she passed away when I was 11, and I lived with my Dad and brother until I was 18. At 18 my dad re-married and we moved into a house with my step-mom and one step-sister. My brother bought my childhood home and got married himself.

I've written about how there was a question about whether I was abused as a child, and about how I'm scared to get married or have children because of how my mother treated both me and my father.

But on a fundamental level, being raised without a mother for the latter part of my childhood had its effects that come up at the oddest times. Especially in the sense that I feel the affects of her influence on me from the 11 years I had with her colouring everything I do. Every decision I make, to jobs, clothes and the words that come out of my mouth.

It's odd that someone who has been gone so much longer than I ever knew her can have such an impact on my psyche. Especially since I know that she was a troubled woman, I have to remember to not necessarily use her as the paragon of the ideal behaviour to emulate.

I think a problem with losing someone when I (and she for that matter) was so young, is that while I can attempt to analyze her through an adult lens now, I suspect it's still tainted by childish interpretations and memories. Because I never had a chance to speak with her as an equal, I know that there is so much that I can simply never know about why she made the decisions that she did.

It seems to ridiculous that I live in such conflict about romantic relationships because of her. While I am relatively independent, I still don't want to die alone. Yet, I am terrified to become the nagging, condescending and occasionally cruel person that I saw my mother be towards my father. Because I have it in me. I have an inherent coldness and judgmental side that only seems to come out towards the men in my life - D2, my brother, boyfriends. I think I would rather be alone than to be the cause of resentment from another person.

Sometimes I feel I live my entire life trying to do things contrary to what my Mother would have done. Yet at the same time, I desperately want to believe that she's somewhere out there, aware of what I'm doing, and isn't disappointed in me.

It would be so much easier if life adhered more closely to the black & white. My mother had a plethora of good qualities. I remember distinctly her telling me that I was going to be "spectacular" when I grew up. I remember her sitting for hours just talking to me.

But I also remember the fear. And anger. And helplessness. And the need to be perfect.
And even being a china doll.

And how unrealistic would it be if I viewed my mother through that black and white lens? If she were completely evil and messed me up, or if she were positively angelic and perfect? Neither are realistic either as memories nor aspirations (or anti-aspirations as the case may be).

I don't really know where I'm going with this post, but I've found myself thinking a lot about her lately, and find it both slightly sad, and more than a little frustrating at how much this woman that I can barely remember touches on so much of my being. I know that it seems logical since she's my mother and all - but still, she was such an ephemeral influence in my life, I just wish that I had a bit more choice as to what and whom created my foundations...

8 comments:

Karen said...

I lost my mom when I was 24 and she was 52. I still feel that I was cheated out of so much and it effects me every single day of my life.

Your situation is different than mine, but your post touched me.

Craftsman of light said...

just feel like giving you a hug

WendyB said...

I've been thinking a lot about how some relationships are affected by childhood development -- with the key issue for me being that those thoughts and assumptions are just a child's. Shedding childhood prejudices and developing more emotionally are very much on my mind.

Princess Pointful said...

What an amazing post for me to come back to. I know it couldn't have been easy to write, but it just shows so much wisdom and insight. It would probably be easier, in some ways, just to view her in black and white terms, like you would have as the child you were when you lost her. But to do so is so contrary to who you are.
It's hard, because relationships like this are always sneaking in and affecting you, even when you least expect it or could have sworn you'd already processed it. Figuring out how these things affect you is such a long process-- although I'm sure writing helps. At least it does for me :)

Rock Chef said...

This is tricky - your mom's memory will influence and affect you - this is only natural. I think that the trick is not to let it dominate you, don't live under her shadow. Live how you want to live, not how your mother would or would not. Does that make sense?

Sending a big hug, anyway!

Floating Princess said...

This made me think of my son, and wonder what he's going to remember about me. I hope it's all good, but I wonder. I don't know who it's harder on when the child figures out his parents aren't perfect - the parent or the child. You've given me a lot to think about!

Lynda said...

I read through all the posts on your mom, so some of my comments may be on those as well.

I think when you find the right person, you probably will share a lot about your past with them. And if they really love you, they will learn to understand that is just how you are. Or maybe you will realize what you are doing and change for yourself.

I think as far as abuse is concerned, if you don't remember it, don't try to. Hold on to the good things about your mom. I don't know if we ever are on equal levels with our parents, but it sounds like you had a good relationship with your mom. Reading some of your other posts, I kind of wondered if maybe she knew she was going to die. In a way, I think my sister subconsciously knew she was going to die, just by some of the things she would say or actions she would take. Even though, looking back, she also tried to convince us she would be around for a long time.

From my own life, I wonder how much my nephew will be affected by his mom, because her memory is almost like a ghost. We still think of her, and he knows the pictures are of his mother, but he never really will know her.

James said...

Hi Princess,

long time no speak together. I am sorry to read you are still struggling with some of these feelings.

 
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