Sunday, December 20, 2009

Balancing Feelings

I lost my mom suddenly and unexpectedly in 2000—thirty days before my wedding day. She was 60 when she died. If she were still alive, today would have been her 70th birthday.

For some reason, this year in particular feels especially tender.

I’ve noticed as I get older (I’ll be 44 in a few weeks), that aging seems to soften how we view people and places. Things that used to bother us, don’t seem so important any more. The places where we feel the sharp, jagged edges of painful memories we thought we’d never be able to release—are beginning to blur and fade. Our hearts feel more open, more ready to forgive. We have more clarity around what really matters.

I used to struggle with all the mixed feelings I have around my mom (an amazing artist, musician and medical professional who battled depression most of her life); all the unfinished business we never got to work through.

But as I move into the second half of my life, I am more at ease around all my feelings related to my mom. Both the incredible explosive light and the dark, scary shadow. And the polarity (read more) and range of emotions I feel around her, doesn’t bother me so much anymore. I'm able to just be with this spectrum of feelings.

I believe we’re all doing the best we can at any given moment. How do I know what it felt like to walk her path?

If my mom were alive today, I think—and hope—she would have moved into a place of being more forgiving and gentle with herself. And that she’d be proud of me and my passion for helping other women find this place within themselves, as well.

Happy Birthday Juliana. I love you and thank you for the many gifts you shared with me. I would not being doing the work I am doing today were it not for you.

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Photo: My mom and dad leaving the hospital right after my birth, Houston, TX, 1966.


Amy said...

Thank you for this heartfelt post. What a wonderful honoring of your mom through use of your insight. I lost my mom 24 years ago this Thanksgiving and my feelings about her, me, the loss, our relationship, are always changing. I think it was Mitch Albom that wrote in Tuesdays with Morrie, "Death ends a life, not a relationship." Wishing you peace and love.

renee trudeau said...

Thank you Amy ... being a motherless mother has been an often painful and lonely journey. It's good to know I have sisters out there.

peggy said...

It's impossible, I believe, for a children of any age to realize how important his/her parents are to them and vice versa. My mom was 85 when she died and the pain of losing her was beyond description. Although I didn't fully appreciate her at times, as I know my children do not always appreciate me, I have learned that we all do the best we can at any given time; and that the most important thing in any mother/child relationship is the overwhelming love that is always there whether we think so or not at the moment.

A mother is with her child from the moment of conception until one of them dies. My mom passed away in 2005 and I still think of her and miss her every day. My dad died in 2001 and I miss him as much.

It's too bad that we don't always realize, and take full advantage of, the opportunity to spend as much time as we can while they are alive.

Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my children; and I feel comfort in knowing that it was the same for my parents with me.