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.