Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What I cannot tell my mother...


My mother has always loved dolls. Baby dolls. She kept all my childhood dolls. Her house has dainty little dolls scattered here and there. At Toys R Us, she looks for the ones with the prettiest eyes.

She just plain loves babies. We were at a baby shower together, a month ago and I saw how she smiled and pivoted, looking around, seeking all the little ones...nudging me...'oh, look at that little fellow...' 'oh, that one...isn't she cute...those curls.'

It broke my heart.

All my mother wanted was to become a mother...and then after that, to become a grandmother. I have cheated her out of this...not that I wanted to, it just happened. Or didn't happen.

Actually, I had thought I'd dealt with this many tears and years ago, when we gave up trying. I fashioned a brave face for those times when, over and over again, I was asked when we'd be starting a family or if I had children. How I hated those questions. Callie-dog became my escape to the garden...."I have a golden"... small smile.

I became flippant. I eventually convinced myself that we were better off. Less responsibility, more freedom. It sounded good.

But that's just what you do...you harden the tender spots to keep them from damage, to let them heal. But masks do not last forever. The empty place has opened up again in recent years. Menopause, I think, has made it real and painfully irreversible.

I haven't gone to a Mother's Day service at our church for three years. After a while, I simply could not bear all the mothers standing, while I remain seated. Sadness slaps me suddenly and swiftly, without warning. The other night, I was struck mute by a movie scene where a mom sat in bed reading a story to her children. I couldn't even put the pain into words. I can hardly breathe during these sudden tsunamis.

But recently, I've come to realize it isn't just my loss, but my parents' as well. I dreamed one night that my mother was giving birth and when someone took the baby away from her, she wailed with grief, reaching out across the bed...just wailing. It was a dream so real...so excruciatingly real that it still haunts me.

I can't even tell her that I know how empty and weightless her arms feel. I cannot say the words. I don't know how to say them. I can't even acknowledge to myself out loud, that my heart feels so heavy.

Sometimes there are no words.

10 comments:

Shelley said...

Dearheart as I read your truthful, pain-felt post my heart breaks and fresh tears fall. You say it so artfully, raw and painful as it is. We do become 'hardened' and 'with a brave face' watch while others receive a rose. We had a black lab 'Brandon'. As one who has experienced such pain, I know that Black Rose is a true miracle. My heart (and arms) reach out to you Deb. I also extend them to those around you,sometimes we forget that they too are feeling 'lost' as well.

Deborah Carr said...

Oddly enough,a wise friend and I spoke about this just last night. She, as well, has worked her way through this at the same stage of her life. We agreed that it is important to walk through the painful times, acknowledge them, allow the emotion to wash over us, but not to linger or dwell in it.

When we pause or contemplate too long or too often, we run the risk of allowing it to define us, rather than shape us. Pain should help us grow, not hold us back.

Tabor said...

All decisions whether active or passive leave regrets of what might have been had we tried another way. Looking back doesn't really help. Perhaps working with a children's group or getting your mother to help with the babies at church might be a way to bring children back into your lives. Helping others lessens the weight of regret.

Deborah Carr said...

I agree, Tabor, there are plenty of children in need of adult mentors and mothering. And helping others is a way to move beyond heal pain. What I feel is not really regret - as this was something beyond our control. I think it is more a delayed grief or acknowledgment of loss.

And I didn't want to give the impression that this is something I dwell on or think about a lot...most of the time, I live a very optimistic, joyful, productive life. This just sneaks up on me sometimes and I haven't yet found the speaking words to tell my mom that I know how she feels, as well.

ljm said...

To be an authentic writer has its rewards and its costs, Deb. Today I am admiring your honesty and hoping the rewards will come to you. A beautiful piece.

Lonely Rivers said...

I know that I have dropped in on a very personal moment here, so forgive my boldness at leaving a comment. You write beautifully of your own feelings - and with deep empathy for your mom. Your post tugged at my heart and stirred the tears - these Hallmark Days only work well for some of the people. As a mom with grandmother yearnings, I know that she knows.

deb said...

oh, Deb
I don't know what to say. But I'm in tears.

Diane said...

Oh gosh, my heart breaks for you and for your mother.

When you wrote, "But that's just what you do...you harden the tender spots to keep them from damage, to let them heal. But masks do not last forever."

Oh how I understand that, albeit in a different way. The warmest of thoughts are left here for you.
(from Diane Schuller)

Relyn said...

I don't know what to write. I just don't know. I am so aware that there are no good words. And so here I sit. I sit and my fingers hover above the keys and I wish for the right words. And there are none. Except this.

I am here. I am listening.

gina said...

for someone who has not experienced what you have (and still are) my heart hurts for you as i can't imagine. who knows why what happens, happens. i know it is something just not in our (your) control, yet we have to find the ways to control or mend the outcomes, emotions, reality of it. easier on some days. other days, maybe just a faint smell brings it all back. it's sad. i'm sad for you and for your mom. but i have to believe that there has been room for other wonderful moments, experiences, growths that have happened in it's absence. it just happens that way, we know. when there is room...other things fill it up. i can imagine that much goodness has been pouring in and around you and is no where near full.