New Look for My Blog and Thoughts About My Mom
Twenty-three years ago today, I lost my mother. She died two weeks after her 49th birthday. I was 28 at the time. I turned 51 this May. I think about her a lot.
The first five years following her death were the hardest. For about five years, I could not look at a greeting card for mother or daughter without crying. I don't mean misty eyes. I mean tears on my cheeks in the middle of the store. It was really, really hard. Sometimes I just had to leave as quickly as I could so I would not draw attention.
My mom and I were never very close ... until she was diagnosed with cancer. During the seven months that she was terminally ill, my days revolved around her; caring for her and just wanting to be in her presence. Time was so precious ... even if we were only watching "Wheel of Fortune" together. John and I watch "Wheel of Fortune" together now and I never get through an episode without thinking about Mom. It's kind of like hearing a song that brings back a time in your life. "Wheel of Fortune" will always tie me to memories of Mom, the family room in Chino ... and some memories in that family room that I wish I could erase.
If my mom were alive today, she would be 72. I often wonder what our relationship would be like if we'd had all those years to grow and mature together. How would a 72-year-old Jane feel about her 51-year-old daughter? The truth is, I really don't know. I know she loved me. I was never sure she approved of me. And I'm not sure she would approve of me today. I am far more outspoken than she was. The one thing I know she would be very pleased with is the way I have controlled my weight. Which makes me laugh. But it's so true.
I went through a chunky time in my twenties. My weight was a frustration to my mother. She made little comments (thinking she was being subtle, I supposed; but she wasn't). She'd tell me, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." She offered to split sandwiches with me (which made me eat more in resistance to being controlled). She would be proud of me today for staying thin. But would she like me? Would she be proud of the inner person? I wish I knew that she would. I would love to believe that she would.
I often wonder if she would emotionally disown me (she would never have overtly disowned me or stopped speaking to me) for writing the book. But I wonder if I would have had the courage to write it if she were still here. I was very intimidated by my mother. I realize now that it was her approval I wanted more than anyone else's; including my dad's.
So this is one of my "favorite" book responses. I think you will understand why. I am removing the comments that could possibly identify the author of the note. But this is what he said to me:
~~~~~Ok - so I finished the book, and rather quickly to be honest. I've just been
digesting it for a bit. From the perspective of the things that I knew about,
remembered and recollected; you gave a VERY fair representation of the church
that we both grew up in.
I suppose it's almost ironic, but it speaks back to how I told you that I didn't
have too many hard feelings due to the way that I left the church, but you were
SO SO SO right. It's almost ironic now looking back at all of that 'stuff' and
it honestly just makes me laugh. I don't take those things strangely - I just
seem to put them in a compartment and hide them away....
Needless to say - HANDS CLAPPING SHARI. That was the fairest representation of
what we grew up in that could have been presented.
The book made me laugh, cry, laugh harder, and cry even harder. My heart burst as I was reading about John's daughter. I never knew that he had a daughter. The idea of having a child is so dear to my heart that I honestly laid on the bed and wept as I read those words where you talked about hearing "that sound" in his voice. It haunted me for days.... I can't even imagine that kind of pain and it's still in my head. I can only surmise that that is the reason GOD led you to John.
I want to say more but my eyes are starting to get heavy and the next statement
is heart felt, honest, and way too honest.
HANDS CLAPPING, HEART BURSTING, EYES CRYING AS I WRITE, AND ARMS HUGGING.... The thought that comes to mind is that your mother wished with all her might that she could have had the strength to be as bluntly, sweetly and lovingly honest as you have been. She couldn't and I can't put words in her mouth, but I do believe that she would be SO proud of you today. I hope you know that this is not a placation or statement meant to stoke an ego - I remember her well and I remember the way that she quietly made statements of her care. SHE WOULD BE PROUD OF YOU.
[The book] brought a lot of emotion out of me that I hadn't looked at in a while and THANK YOU.
From the bottom of my heart I love you as another in Christ.
It is comforting to reread this note this morning as I think about my mom and wonder....hope...dare to believe that this person could be right.
I love you, Mom. Always did. Always will.