The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day and Estrangement

Holidays are difficult for those contending with losses (See Holiday Stress)– especially those holidays that celebrate the person at the center of our loss. The symbolism of Mother’s Day can be particularly difficult for estranged mothers and daughters.

During my twenties, I shrouded myself in denial. I tried to “buy” my mother’s love by providing her a day of false praise and tribute. In the years leading up to our estrangement, I often anticipated Mother’s Day with anger or dread. I searched the rows of Hallmark Cards trying unsuccessfully to find an authentic and respectful card that said something other than “For the best Mom ever.”

During the beginning of our estrangement, I often faced Mother’s Day with ambivalence - joyful about my role as a mother and sad about my painful losses with respect to my own mom.

The holidays do get better with time. After a few years of allowing myself the space to mourn my loss, I filled my Mother’s Days by honoring my own internal mother; by sharing a joy filled day with my daughters; by honoring the women who have made a positive difference in my life, and by advocating for other motherless daughters.

In that vein, make the space to mourn your loss and to celebrate the mother in you, who nurtures herself and/or her own children: Happy Mother's Day!

5 comments:

Tamara said...

Nancy,

I wrote the same sentiment on my blog - but, you said it so much better...and without the anger. I learn from you each time I read your writing. Thanks!

Tamara

healandforgive said...

Tamara,

I read your post on Mother's Day, and I must say - on the contrary, your post carries an authentic "in the moment" quality that meets and validates other survivors right where they are. "In the moment" sharing is valuable stuff!

As difficult as it is for me to read my old journals, sometimes I post an excerpt from my old journals to give the reader the "in the moment" quality that is no longer present for me. Today, I write from a more healed perspective; yet, when I really want to validate someone else's experience, I must tap into the time when my feelings were more "raw."

Warmly,
Nancy

Tamara said...

Nancy,

You and others like you that are so willing to share your journey towards healing have blazed a path that I can now follow in my own healing process. I thank you for that.

It is my hope that, in addition, to helping me heal by allowing me to share my story of abuse and the aftermath of abuse, my website will help someone else.

Thank you for reminding me that we are all in different places on this healing journey and that each step is necessary.

My best,
Tamara

cbw said...

As a mother who is so extremely remorseful of the abuse inflicted upon my daughter, I have found your words to be hopeful. I want nothing more than to reestablish a relationship with my daughter who is 20.After 3 years of abusive behavior toward the person I love most in the world...i respect her for wanting nothing to do with me. I just want to keep hopeful that one day, she will want to speak to me again.

healandforgive said...

cbw,

Thank you for your comments. I read your first blog post on "Regret and Grow." I found your sentiments to be very touching.

Possibly with time and healing, your daughter will be open to re-establishing contact. I know from experience that the hole in our hearts created by the loss of our mothers leaves a lasting void.

Your obvious regret is clear in your words. It is rare for a parent to admit to prior abuse. For that you have my respect and my well wishes.

We never know what the future holds.

All my best,
Nancy