Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Wish I Liked This Time of Year More

Every year around this time I start getting anxious. At first, I always think it's because the holidays are around the corner, but really, we have pretty simple holiday traditions and there's not that much pressure.

Then I remember - the anniversary of my mother's death is coming up. She died in December 1986, and the anniversary has always affected me more than her birthday or Mother's Day. She has now been gone for more of my life than she was alive for - the memory of her is getting farther and farther away. In fact, I think I'm losing it. But if I make a conscious effort to sit down, think and write about her, the anxiety releases some of its grip.

Many days, I don't think about her. I'm used to her not being around. We had what you might call a complicated relationship, filled with bitterness, anger, obligation and unyielding bonds. When she died, I had a hard time grieving because I didn't feel I had a right to grieve someone I so thoroughly resented. Then I'd feel guilty because I'd gotten what I wanted: freedom.

Every winter, I think about her. We visit her grave in December, and say a prayer. She loved Christmas and was uncommonly generous - it was definitely her time to shine. I don't feel like she's there at the cemetery, but I don't know where else to go.

Although my memories are more and more faded, I still glimpse her fleetingly in my son, who inherited her lack of height and Irish-bright red hair. I also see my mouth and dimples becoming hers with tiny lines and deep creases.

I'm sorry I never got to know her without all her baggage. I gave up on her by grade school, and built an internal armour against her. She never really got to know me, either. I like to think we would have gotten along, and maybe even enjoyed each other, if we could have put down our shields.

5 comments:

Vee said...

oh my god, I can totally relate. Well.. not on the many years part. My mother killed herself September '07, and our relationship wasn't good, either. Internal armor? ALL over that. Sigh.

She's also buried in England, 3500 miles away from me.

I hope you're okay, it's a BITCH to deal with.

I get pretty sad, as well.

gwendomama said...

I wish you had tags so I could read some back-story on this.

And I am sorry. That kind of grieving and that brand of guilt.

All of it. Sucks.
So sorry, my friend.

love to you.

Lunasea said...

Yeah, I should be better with my tags, but I'm pretty sure there is no back story on my blog. Difficult woman, had me at 42 with one grown daughter and a 12-yr-old daughter already, smoked like a chimney, and died of lung cancer when I was 21.

Anonymous said...

Colleen,
What an insightful, compassionate and intelligent woman you are! Can you imagine how your mother is decorating Heaven for Christmas knowing she is going to gaze down upon her daughter and the beautiful family she has created during, this, her favorite time of year?! I wish I could be an angel fly on Heaven's wall to see that!

Your Friend since 1990

Dan

Carrie said...

My father died when I was 2 1/2, too young for me to remember him. It's difficult because part of me desperately wants to have some memory of him, something that I could grieve. It was many years of guilt of not having that, not being able to say, "Yes, I remember him and what a good father he was." which is what I know my grandmother really wanted me to say and I wanted to be the good child and say it. I was very angry when I was about 15 that he had died--not so much because he was dead but because he was dead and it was weird to have to say that to people. Divorce would have been so much easier to explain.

I still mourn him--I don't think we ever stop that but like you said, I'll go days without thinking of him. I have a wonderful dad in my stepfather so I didn't miss out on that part of life. Just the part of actually knowing my father and his quirks and personality and the offbeat sense of humor of his that I apparently inherited. I'm older than he ever got to be, done things he never got to do, seen places, and things, and people he never got to see. And knowing all that makes me sad.

And I'm sorry to have gone all therapy patient on you and hijack the comments. Just wanted you to know that you're not alone in these feelings and I can relate to you.

 
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