Friday, January 28, 2011

How We Need Our Moms

I had an a-ha moment this past week. A friend was over whose sister lost her husband a year ago. It's sad & tragic. They'd been together since college, had recently married and 6 months later died suddenly.

One of the hardest things about my friend's sister is dealing with her mom - who is a sweet woman but who just doesn't seem to know how to be there for her daughter.  And, in turn, it hurts their mother to know that she has to tip-toe around her daughter...

I couldn't help but relate it to me. And what me & my mom had gone through this past year. She just couldn't be there for me the way I had needed her to be. It hurt that during a time of the worst sorrow I've experienced, I felt like I didn't have my mom.

Everything she said (or didn't say) was wrong.

She said all the (empty-sounding) "comforting" words of don't worry, it will happen soon (oh, yeah, when?) and there are worse things that could happen (yeah, I know I'm not dying) and just relax (ok...) and you have so many blessings (yes, and it upsets me even more that I can't seem to focus on those instead!!!).

And what she didn't say - I'm sorry this is so hard for you/that you're going through this/that you're sad.

My friend's sister has a hard time calling her mom. And when they do talk, it lasts a minute or two. The words How are you? seem loaded to her.

I can relate. I can so relate.

That time my mom called to say are you mad at me, you haven't called in 2 weeks... Well, the reason I hadn't called was because it just took too much effort to talk to someone who wasn't there for me. It made me feel even more alone to not have her be able to comfort me.

And even though I couldn't see it then, I had to trust that it would pass. That my mom & I would be able to just be "us" again... somehow.

This weekend, I drove an hour to have lunch with my parents, not out of obligation, not because they asked, not because it had been too long, but because I wanted to.

Sure, it's still not great to think about how I needed her last year and she wasn't that person for me. But I feel like I'm past that now, living life again, and only now can I feel like we have our relationship (back) again. I say (back) because I know it's not exactly the same. It can't be. But it's close. Closer than we've recently been, at least. And it's only able to be because I'm not in the depths of my sorrow anymore.


  1. I can relate to the part about her not saying what you need her to during the difficult times. Mine also always wants to focus on the positive and be upbeat and it's hard when you're feeling so far from that. Glad you've been able to get to a point of acceptance.

  2. I hope you and your mother can find a way to move forward together. Sending love to you...

  3. I found your post interesting. It's sad that you don't feel comforted and supported by your mom. It's interesting because I have actually kept my fertility issues a secret from my parents. I have had 3 miscarriages; 5 failed IUIs and we are about to start IVF if all goes well with my lady parts. I know my mother would want me to call her up when I have my bad days, but I have decided to not let her be a part of my struggle because I think she would get too stressed about me getting stressed. I feel tremendous guilt for hiding this from her, but I think she wouldn't understand. So, in some respects I can relate to a whole lot of what you said because my mother is a problem solver. I think sometimes we need to embrace, "It is what it is".

  4. It is so hard. We need people to be supportive in the way that we need, but much like kids, we don't come with an instruction manual for handling. What to say, what not to say. When to just listen. Has your friend tried referring her mom to a grief site for family and friends (you know, like Resolve for us)?? Maybe she just needs a nudge in the right direction.

    What is great, is that you can understand, on some level) what she is experiencing on the mom front. Which means you CAN be supportive.

    HUGS to them.

  5. I'm almost crying thinking about what it would be like to lose my husband so soon after getting married! But I'm really glad you're piecing things back together with your mom. Your ability to do so definitely shows a lot of progress, and I'm sure both you and she (and other family members) will be so thankful for the deeper relationship you can develop.