(Un)happy Mother’s Day - Wherever You Are With the Day

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  • By Becca Rose
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(Un)happy Mother’s Day - Wherever You Are With the Day

Mother’s Day has come and gone, and our feeds and inboxes were filled with joy, happiness and excitement to celebrate one of the most influential figures in our lives, our moms. And I love this so much. But not all moms left the positive influences we would hope for. Nobody wants to talk about that. I will. Because hiding it doesn’t heal, and I don’t want this for future generations.

Every year, just before Mother’s Day, my sister @shanebraverman and I would send each other pictures of Mother’s Day cards that celebrated the love, devotion, and healthy relationship between a child and their mother… as a joke. We knew we would never actually buy a card like that to send to our mom. Because she was unhealthy—physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. An untreated addict. And simply not capable of the deep connections we read about on these Hallmark cards.

 

We always found cards that were more surface-level:

 

“For You: Have a bright and breezy, take-it-easy, happy, happy Mother’s Day” was one of the last cards we sent her.

 

Mom knew she didn’t live up to our expectations as a mother (or hers). And still, we all tried to get her to (even her). It wasn’t until I let her off the hook, when I finally let go of that dream of a healthy dynamic between the two of us, that our relationship could get better (or let go as much as I could). And while the relationship improved, my heart was still crushed. I could see her and be with her in person, but only as two human beings, not as a mother and daughter. To my inner child, it just hurt so much to be in the presence of a woman who could not be present with me.

 

But, man, did she love me fiercely. When I left my first husband, she showed up and helped me move out, buying me kitchen and bathroom supplies to help me get on my feet when she had barely any money. And she threatened to sue me one year when she was financially desperate enough.

 

She taught me to use my voice and get loud about injustice… unless it was about something she was doing to me, and then she hit me and kicked me in the back. She taught me that my value was in how sexy I looked… but wouldn’t let me shave my hairy legs until I was 13, wear makeup until I was 16, and then mocked me for being beautiful. She always told us not to do drugs, not to smoke or drink, but handed me a joint when I was 17, let me smoke her cigarettes, and didn’t reprimand or even have a conversation with me when she found out I was drinking at 14 and having sex at 16.

 

Even through all of this, we loved each other so much. At the end of her life in 2023 mom was admitted to hospice. Her mind was gone, she had episodes of violence and paranoia. One day no one could get her to take her medicine - her sisters, the nurses, the doctor, family members, no one.

 

“I’ll only talk to Becky”, she said.

 

I was on a big buying trip in Tucson in the middle of packing a pallet of product when I got the call from the nurse “she’s violent and non-compliant and won’t talk to anyone but you.”

 

Mom was convinced they were trying to poison and kill her. I calmly reminded her why she was there- to die. I helped her remember that it was her choice to come. I asked her to notice how she was feeling

 

“…scared! Angry! I’m not okay, Becky! They’re trying to kill me!”

 

I asked her if she liked feeling this way and she said no. I told her if she wants to feel better there’s only one way, and it’s by taking the meds.

 

“I trust you Becky, but no one else. Are you sure they aren’t trying to kill me?”

 

“I promise, mama, you’re okay. It’s okay. They’re trying to help.” And she took her meds. Somewhere in the corner of her damaged brain she knew, she could feel the Love I have for her. I don’t know why or how but I like to think it’s because I came to a place of Peace with her.

 

I share these stories, not to shame her, or me. Shame is what fueled these behaviors, shame mixed with mental illness and untreated addiction. Shame isn’t going to help.

 

I share because I think it’s important for us all to know the reality of some mother-daughter dynamics. (If you struggle with this dynamic I highly recommend my friend @karen who offers support for this very thing) I share in case you experienced something like this and need some validation for your hurt, rage, sadness, frustration. (If you need a safe space to yell your feelings my dear friend @sarah has an amazing container for you) I share because I want to bring light into those dark corners of our thoughts so they can feel safe to come out and be healed. Burying them (for another generation) won’t help.

 

I share for the daughters who want more, who need and deserve more.

 

I share for the mothers who know they’re “failing”. And to those mothers I want you to know, I forgave her. I forgave that remarkable woman who loved and beat the shit out of me. I don’t excuse her, I don’t excuse the abuse and violence, but I did forgive.

 

And I forgive you. You *are* forgivable. No matter what. Whether your daughter gets there or not, I just want you to know, I forgive you.

 

I’d love to hear where you are on this emotion-filled day.

 

I love you, mama. Thank you for helping me heal our relationship, and the relationships of others, from the other side. You belong among the wildflowers (this is the song we spread her ashes to) and I know that’s just where you are. 

 

With so much love,

Becky

 

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