Adjusting My Focus

MomThe period from mid-March through mid-April is usually very difficult for me. Twenty-eight years ago, my mother died on April 2 – six days before her birthday and twelve days after her wedding anniversary. It was the kind of death when well meaning people say things like “At least she’s not suffering.” She had mitral valve prolapse, and most of my life was spent waiting for her to die.

Trying to ignore the anniversary of her death, and just celebrate her birthday was how I’ve tried to deal with my grief. It never worked. So this year I tried something different. Using Facebook, I started on April 2 and posted one picture every day that represented a different aspect of my mother’s life. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so I used just a few words to identify what the picture represented to me.

The first day, I was incredibly sad as memories came rushing back spurred by pictures I hadn’t looked at in years. Then something rather disconcerting happened, I started to question my good memories. My parents did the best they could, and it oftentimes fell short of ideal (I don’t think any of us are ever the perfect parent). Over the years, I think I’ve edited my memories to suit my emotional/psychological needs. Did I embellish the good times, or even embellish the bad times? Is this human nature? Do we all edit our memories?

At the end of this experiment, I’ve changed my focus to see her as whole person – not just as my mother. She was intrinsically a decent human being, very talented, and strong in her convictions. I hope that when my daughters look back on my life, they will be able to understand the difficulties I had and remember that on most days I tried to be the best person I could be. That’s what my mother did, and that’s how I choose to remember her.


3 thoughts on “Adjusting My Focus

  1. Even though we had a rough childhood and your feelings of sadness or resentment over any childhood trauma is valid, I still value and cherish so dearly the hours we would spend every night before bed talking about anything and everything and hearing you tell the same stories about your life over and over no matter how many times I’d heard them. Suffering through horror movies with me because you nurtured my strange and morbid interests, telling us you didn’t care what grades we got as long as we tried our best. It’s perfectly okay to feel negative feelings about your parents and your childhood but you can never let go of the good times, otherwise it all seems a loss and totally hopeless.

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  2. big hugs and much love to you. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to this realisation about my dad too, I had him on a pedestal and didn’t see him as a whole human being, only as my dad. Now I have accepted that he wasn’t perfect and that I overlooked a lot of the bad because I loved and missed him so much.
    It sounds like you have turned an important corner.

    Liked by 1 person

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