Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It feels good to have my mom back (for the first time)....

...because it's been a long road getting to now. But, I must admit, I've learned a lot in witnessing her transformation. Sometimes things aren't as they seem. Sometimes nothing is as it seems. I'm beginning to realize that underneath all the hurt, my mom has been a bird or a butterfly all along. It just took a divorce and a major step towards independence to reveal those beautiful, sparkling wings.

5 years ago I wrote a poem about her and our relationship. A friend suggested that I do it and so I did. But when I went to read it out loud in front of an entire room full of people, it caused me to unexpectedly break down in tears, unable to finish. Someone else finished for me, but I was left feeling embarrassed, confused, and mostly overwhelmed by the tidal wave of grief that had surged without warning and with such force from deep inside of me. I tried to hide my eyes behind a kleenex someone had handed me while somebody across the room said (with attempted good intention) something about how it didn't matter and that I shouldn't let that person hurt me. He didn't know I was talking about my mom. And, the truth is, no matter how horrible or fucked up they might be, mothers do matter. They matter more than anything.

Silence Held My Hand When Craziness Called
The Things Left Unsaid when Trust in Tomorrow Can't Be Guaranteed:

Dear __________,
I'm not sure what your plans are,
You've never quite said
how far you will go
But there are some things that
I have been keeping myself from saying.
Did I mention that they have begun to eat me up inside?
Well, never mind
I was wondering if it would be possible for you to
take responsibility
for your life.

Would it be too innocent of me to hope that
maybe someday you could discard
the illusions
To rise above
what the doctors or
I would like to see you as a phoenix
Just once.

I was wondering if you might laugh
so hard that your belly hurt.
Or maybe you could even smile
big enough for me to see your teeth.
I was wondering if I might ever get to see you
Throw back your head in wild abandonment
of the moment
Just some sign of life
...anything would do.

I was wondering if you would like to
have a conversation some time.
One that maybe we could walk away from
not feeling bad about.
I think it would be nice
not to want to scream
or cry every time
I hang up the phone
or leave the room where you stand
in tears.

I've been feeling a lot of anger and pain
over this and I don't think this guilt
is good for either one of us.

There is something else I wanted to ask you.
It is important.
I was wondering if it would be possible
For you to be strong.
Just once.
You see, I would really like to experience
Your Beauty.

It feels good to have a mom who, for the first time in my life, is strong and beautiful and has risen from the ashes of her own life--like a phoenix. I always wondered what it would be like to have that kind of mom...and I'm finally finding out.

Someday I hope she finds the kind of loving relationship that she deserves. In the meantime (and beyond) she's got mine.


Loralee Choate said...


So does this post about your mom. What a lady. Of course...What a daughter, too!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

what a beautiful way to honor the transformations your mother has made! you are wonderful, jessie, and i hope your relationship with your mother continues to flourish...

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Jessie, that is beautiful. So sad, yet filled with so much hope. It does matter and it always will.

I had hopes of father in the same manner. He passsed away 4 years ago and it still matters. My father and I had a total of 5 long talks as I now count them on my hand. Not many considering we did live in the same house till my 18 birthday when I moved out. I asked my sisters and brothers through tears...why did he hate me, why was he angry with me all those years? Why didn't he love me like mother loved me. He's gone and it still matters.
I loved your post...later.

beansprout said...

Beautiful, beautiful poem! I don't have the best relationship with my mom but you're much as I try to deny how important she is I do know that she matters. Thanks for the reminder.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful, honest, sensitive testament to your mom and to your relationship. I am so glad that what you hoped for came true. Here's to the power of the phoenix.

kj said...

jessie, this is just so beautiful i don't know where to begin. how lucky and good that you and your mom have found eachother around both strength and love. i can see the strength in your mother's face. your poem is very very good. it conveys both passion and skill.

i have a daughter (about your age) and she matters to me in ways i could never put words to. it is my greatest accomplishment in life that she and i love eachother so authentically. it sounds like you and your mom are (re)connecting in that way.

i don't know you, and i'm still abit taken back by this whole blog-world, but i know you are a good person and if i did know you, i would be glad.


paris parfait said...

Beautiful photo of you and your mom! And what a powerful poem! I'm so glad your relationship is healing. My mom and I haven't always understood each other and have never been particularly close. In the last year she's had several health challenges - currently breast cancer - and I've been trying to make up for lost time and forgive her for some of the hurts. Because you're right, a mother-daughter relationship is important (which is why I've worked so hard on a good relationship w/ my daughter, not wanting to repeat the one I've had with my mom).

Ligeia said...

Jessie, What you wrote was beautiful. It did bring tears to my eyes.
Thank you for visiting my blog; now I'm adding you to my blog reads.


Tammy said...

This was powerful and moving! My mom died before I could see her rise up. You are very lucky, both of you :)

Elizabeth said...

You and your mom share such a beautiful smile! I'm so happy for you and your relationship with her. Complicated, but those are the best relationships!

kate said...

wow... ok first of all you are a terrific writer! You have a great ability to express your feelings with details in writing that most people cannot.

second, I havent read the details about your relationship with your Mom, but from what I gather from this post its wonderful that through the shit you can still see that she is a good person. You dont seem to be holding onto ALL of the anger and negative feelings. It is a process though isnt it. I find that some days I can remember the good and others I am still angry that my Mom wouldnt do things differently when she could have (hence changing my life at that time).

Mothers do matter. Look at people who were adopted that still look for their birth parents... it is just something in us perhaps because we were linked for 9 months.. .idk For me when I lost my Mom I lost that unconditional love (no matter how conditional it really was, no one really loves/knows you like your parents do)

I read blogs like this and think of my Mom (she died this year from Lung Cancer) and all of our unresolved issues that I am left to deal with on my own (and am not doing a fabulous job with BTW... even after seeing a therapist for several months) and I also think about my relationship with my kids...

I PRAY that I dont scar them for life... that they will see me as I am and not as I act in anger and sorrow.
I pray that I enable them to be all that they can be and dont hold them back.
And probably most of all I pray that I am a decent roll model for them as I think that is probably my biggest roll in their lives.

cheers! Kate

PS Interesting also that your poem referenced your mom not smiling and you needing to see that from her... and the photos project her as a really happy person! =]

swampgrrl said...

oh my goodness, dear jessie!

i am broadsided by the honesty of your poem...the pain of wanting your mother and feeling her absence...and stating your intention for a healthy bond that isn't there.

how wonderful that it is all turning around for you and your mom. mothers are important, indeed.

thanks for sharing this and your lovely photo! you can see that there is joy in her eyes.