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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Mother's Blame

My mother's mother was not a nice person. She lived with us for several years when I was a child and in that time alienated her grandchildren from each other by pitting them against each other for her 'favours'. I didn't see it then but she was a masterful manipulator. She came between my parents many times and pushed her own personal issues between them. My mother once told me that when she became pregnant with me, her second child, her mother accused my father of being a pig and that he was using my mother for sex. I suppose this is a value of the generation she belonged to, one mired in the 'sex is dirty' thinking.

My mother is dying of cancer. I love her as my mother but I don't feel the connection with her I wish I did. My sister has the hardest time with not having been loved and nurtured. My dad was away at sea for much of our childhood and when he finally did come home to be with us, I suppose we had by then found ways of coping within a family where love was never expressed, let alone acknowledged. Being the baby of the family my sister was spoiled by my brother and I and perhaps we did her a disservice by doing that, by not letting her toughen up like we have. She has continued into her 40s to have emotional problems and while we are, I believe as adults, responsible for ourselves and our lives, she is fragile.

My father told me he loved me for the first time in 2000. I'll never forget the moment he said "Fiona, I love you and I hope I've been a good father to you". My mother never has, I tell her I love her and the best she can do is "love you too". It's so different from I...LOVE...YOU. She's never taken an interest in my life or my relationships and when the man I loved died recently, her comment was "You don't have much luck with men do you" and moved on to telling me something about one of her neighbours. I understand that for her she's uncomfortable and unable to express, and I do realise that a lot of this has come from her own upbringing. But each of us can break that chain. Each of us can say I will not be like my mother/father. I've never had the joy of being a mother but I do know, I would not have been like my mother.

Nana, I wish you had given your daughter more love in her life because if you had, maybe she'd have given us more too. Maybe, just maybe, before we lose her forever, my mother will say to my sister and I



Chele said...

My heart bleeds for you. I know you need to hear that, we all do. Something you and I have both learned is there is a HUGE difference in love ya and I love you.

I love you Fiona for all that you are and all that you have taught me about life and love. I appreciate the kind caring soul that you are. I think love comes from within us its not always something we are taught or shown. Don't ever lose that special quality that sets you apart from many others. *HUGS*

Sunny Delight said...

Oh love, I so hope you have that wish fulfilled...one of the sorrows I have felt for the olders in my life is that so many cannot seem to let those fetters (is that the right word?) of their pasts go...so many of them either think it is too late, or they just no longer know how. I truly hope your mother can break her chain of silence and let you both know, truly KNOW.

It does mean so much...to hear it..I am so happy for you that your father was able to cross his barriers and let you know. Maybe telling your mother how that made you feel..will put a small chink in her armour...that will expand before it is too late....

God I feel like this is going on and on and not making sense...so will end with a hug.

Zibi said...

Here's some LOVE coming from South Afica ... Hope it makes you smile...LUV

Fiona said...

Aaaah Chele you always say the best things ... and thank you *VBS*

Sunny you always make damn sense and you know it....to me anyway! I don't think my mother ever will, I don't hold out hope. I just want my sister to be able to understand and accept it wasn't her fault, it is just how our mum is.

Revels in the LUV from Zibi :)

Miranda said...

The words I LOVE YOU never flowed in my house growing up either. I remember how my dad used to laugh that I'd say it to the kids all the time when they were growing up.

Im sorry that you're going through this, this may not make you feel any better, but at least knowing that you have a bit of time, maybe you can get a little closer to her. Make amends. In the end it may turn out better than you think. *BIG HUGS*

Dayli said...

Very sad post...

I assume families are different, but I grew up truly believing a mother's love is an axiom - even if the words are never actually said.

It's like believing in God - You don't need God to prove his existence over and over again - you just *know* he exists, because of the small things. Or because of a single event that proved it to you.

I think mother's love is the same...

Having said this, I know the importance of these three little words. I hope you hear them. And if you don't, I hope you can at least see her love in the little things, even if they are rare or long past.

On another note - interesting how I also (and very uncharacteristically) wrote about my family today, before coming to your blog. Only to see you wrote about your family too. Strange.

Steve said...

Sad. To not feel that emotional "connection" with your mom is a very big loss, friend.

I know something about that myself, because of how I grew up. It was really, really rough. And it seems that before you can put the past behind you, time passes... and then, you are faced with their expected loss... and more questions: why couldn't it have been better between us?... why couldn't they have "been there" for me when I really needed someone to love me? It could have been so much better than it was... and yet now, is it really too late to change anything?

I say, be sad for what could have been, dear... yes... but try not to hold any regrets. Don't expect them to hold any regrets either. You always did the best that you could, with the current level of awareness that you had at that time. All you can do is try to enjoy what moments remain, the best that you can. And make peace with yourself, and your mom before she passes. :(

Hugs and Love.

Fiona said...

Ah Miranda, she does not wish us any closer, she fights any prospect of it. My mother has always lavished her love on her pets, it was easier for her to love the family dog than to love us.

Dayli, I don't feel too sad about it, I understand she was the best mother she believed she knew how to be. There are precious few memories of her really being there or believing in me. I don't believe in big g god, I've had many reasons not to. But I do believe in spirituality and being the best person I can be.

Steve, dear Steve. "You always did the best that you could, with the current level of awareness that you had at that time." That is exactly what I believe my mother did, I have just always wanted her to be more than I had and have. But I don't think it has taken anything from me. Perhaps seeing her inability to be more loving has made me a more loving person. She has taught me that at least *S*


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