Monday, April 28, 2008

Mother's Day Redefined

May 11th is Mother's Day. Few people spend this day contemplating the women- the mothers- who will suffer on this day. It is a day, instead, for celebration and gratitude.

There are times in our lives, however, when we must redefine our understanding of previously held beliefs. For many, Mother's Day is such a time.

My mother died at a young age, suddenly and unexpectedly. The woman who gave me life and who would help me to discover both who I was and who I wasn't is gone from this world. I cannot offer her my gratitude this year by taking her out for brunch, showing off her grandchildren. This requires me to see myself as a daughter- and her as a mother- in a much different way than I did for 35 years. I will remember my mother and my daughter. 

Yet, the event that would really challenge the essential meaning of motherhood for me would be the death of my daughter. I experienced motherhood in an entirely different way; and since her death, have sought ways in which I can remain her mother. It is not the way I wanted to be her mom, yet, still it is mothering indeed.  I've had to supplant the normal ways in which I would have filled that role, mainly through service to others. I will remember my motherhood and daughterhood.

For some reason, it's easier for others to understand that on Mother's Day I will think of my own dead mother and miss her, honoring that relationship and mourning all that I've lost. Yet, on Mother's Day I also miss my own child, the MISSing piece of our family, and I mourn all that I've lost, while remaining incredibly grateful for all that I have.  

I've redefined motherhood to include the absence of their presence. 

This Mother's Day, I will think of them both and recognize, in my heart, that I am still both a daughter to my mother and a mother to my daughter. And, I choose to remember- to re-member- my precious girl. I will turn toward our love and the grief and bring them as a whole into my heart. 

Death, simply, is not bigger than that.


Anonymous said...

Your extensive work and sacrafice are phenomenal. It makes more of a difference than you can know.

There needs be more like you, more involvement in communities as it was in days of old, people coming together for the families of lost children in big ways.

I wish, oh how I wish, that this society would not shun death, and especially those who are grieving a death. People are so afraid.

You, as Elisabeth before you, can break this ground in big ways. I thank you, I am grateful. All the blessings of the Universe to you Dr. Cacciatore.

Kara Chipoletti Jones of GriefAndCreativity dot com said...

Yeah! Right on! The whole "official" marking of Mothers Day came from mothers protesting the deaths of their sons in war. Hallmark may have tried to white wash that into a consumer holiday, but the history is recorded and real. You are not alone now -- nor historically!


Jane said...

I can truly relate with this posting. In 1997 I lost two babies (from a set of triplets) and my Mom within a six month time span. Mother's Day is always a difficult day for me.


Kanika said...

I lost my best friend on mother's day, when I was sixteen years old.It has been 11 years and I still miss him. Had he been alive I would have married him by now.

I am still searching for a goal to which I can dedicate my rest of the life to. I have found some solace in spirituality and have got this understanding that all of are existing as forms of energies.Sumit also exists but in some other plane which my senses can not percieve.

Sumit and I were so telepathic, that if one remembers then the other calls immediately. If he was in some other body now, but my energy would still reach him. This realization that I might be causing him pain to that little kid, made me realize that I should let go of my attachment to him. I have taken the first step n this ten thousand mile journey.

Up-to this day I seek inspiration from these lines from the movie Titanic-

[Rose is on top of a door in the water and Jack is hanging off the side, shivering in the water]

Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet)
→ It's getting quiet.

Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio)
→ It's gonna take a couple of minutes to get the boats organized. I don't know about you, but I intend to go write a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all this.

Rose DeWitt Bukater
→ I love you, Jack.

Jack Dawson
→ Don't you do that, don't you say your good-byes. Not yet, do you understand me?

Rose DeWitt Bukater
→ I'm so cold.

Jack Dawson
→ Listen, Rose. You're gonna get out of here, you're gonna go on, and you're gonna make lots of babies, and you're gonna watch them grow. You're gonna die an old... an old lady warm in her bed, not here, not this night. Not like this, do you understand me?

Rose DeWitt Bukater
→ I can't feel my body.

Jack Dawson
→ Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me... it brought me to you. And I'm thankful for that, Rose. I'm thankful. You must do me this honor. You must promise me that you'll survive. That you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.

Rose DeWitt Bukater
→ I promise.

Jack Dawson
→ Never let go.

Rose DeWitt Bukater
→ I'll never let go, Jack. I'll never let go.

I so wish I can be like Rose and live my life to the fullest. that will be the best tribute to my friend.



The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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