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Ahh Mothers … what a mixed review they receive. Yesterday was Mothers Day, and Hallmark has instructed us it’s time to honor our Mothers. Some of us have followed the established program of flowers and cards, sending our I Love You’s, and some of us are torn apart inside by the toxic experience of abuse we received from them. And there is everything in between.

At this time, Mothers Day is especially poignant for me as my mother slowly wanes away in hospital. There are tears everyday to deal with as bad news and good news and mixed news come across my door in its various forms. Her body is pretty well completely controlled by the medical system model of care, and in the big picture, I don’t hold out a strong hope for any real kind of recovery, but letting go of her is a slow and torturous process, with the child in me clinging to her leg; don’t go Mama, please don’t go. My adult logical side whispers in my ear ‘it is time to let her go.’  The struggle is within, as it always is.

I prepare for the bad news, and it still hits me like a ton of bricks, over and over, until it doesn’t. The fat lady has not sung yet, but she is getting closer and closer.

I find myself squirming in my seat reading messages from women who are bravely admitting in the midst of all this mother guilt that their mother’s did a right fucked up job on them. I have spent a lot of time in this place, acknowledging and moving my rage at the various behaviours of the disfunctional mothering I have received. And yet, I also have a part of me afraid to acknowledge this, afraid to say anything in opposition to the sacred cow of the Mother label. But, there it is.

What I will acknowledge is this; That my relationship with my Mother has been the most difficult and profound relationship of my life, has had the most far reaching effects on me, has taken me a life-time to come to understand, and will continue to take me years to sort through and heal from as I move into my mature years.

I have had no children myself, as I observed the difficulties of my own upbringing and came to the conclusion that I had best work some of these things out before I pass them on to the next unsuspecting victim. So healing this relationship and all the ramifications of it has been a primary focus in my life.

Have I healed it, you ask? Not entirely, of course, but some very hard places in my heart have softened and I have found love for her in many places that were hard and closed off between us, and I am so very grateful for this softening. So I guess that my Ode to my own Mother this Mothers Day is ‘with what love I have, I send to you.’

Happy Mothers Day. Hardest job in the world, and the least appreciated.

Jean Mary E.