Yep, my all-weather, tough-as-nails mama, cried.
When she learned of my official diagnosis of Lupus (SLE), she found her core group of friends at the time, and just wept.
She explained to them the seriousness and ultimate severity of my diagnosis. The hard days and nights of pain, inflammation, and hospital visits to come. I can only imagine that they spent some time praying and consoling; helping my mother come to terms with the reality.
She Knew My Pain
I didn’t know any of this while Mom was alive. All I knew was that she made me feel such comfort, even in the very worst of situations. Such overwhelming strength to “just breathe”; to fight through the pain as my fingers throbbed, my knees ached sharply, my toes bled, and my chest tightened. No one could ever really understand the extreme suffering I endured as a young child; but my mama tried. With all her might. Sometimes, I would look into my mom’s eyes, and as I did my breathing exercises with her to try to take my mind off the piercing pain in my digits, I saw… that twinge. It was the same one that I caught a glimpse of in the mirror, whenever I could focus on my surroundings instead of the discomfort. I am convinced my mother knew my pain; even before she felt the pain and struggle of her own diagnosis, she knew pain. Because heart caught my occasional yells and grips of her hand – and showed her how to feel it: my pain. She just got me.
What a Woman!
Moms can be a species all their own, it seems. But my mother? Her classification still astounds me today. A full time, triple-board-certified doctor, volunteer, wife, mother/stepmother, grandmother, and the rock and glue of our family and communities. Still, she held worlds together AND met me in her bed or on the couch so that I would NEVER have to fight the pain battles alone; the ones that could even make some adults fall to their knees in agony. With my rock holding me near, I got through jolt after jolt of the hurt turned on me by what was eventually diagnosed at Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder (MCTD).
What a woman my mom was. She wasn’t the same with me as with the rest of the world most times. But I kinda liked it that way. Equal parts strong, fierce, nurturing, protective, kind, and generous, my mama made sure her children were fully taken care of in all things. I was not allowed to be left in trouble; medically, spiritually, or financially. Even when Mom didn’t have the strength necessarily to cook, there was a meal for my family at dinnertime. I love her for all she did and for what she still does in my heart.
With others, of course, she was also one of the best people others knew. I was told time again that Mom made someone feel like they were the most special person to her because she listened, actively and intently. And you know what?… that was just as true as the fact that she loved her family to the exact moon and back.
About Less-Than-Perfect Family Relationships
It’s important to remember not everyone has a wonderful, dream-like relationship with their mother, at least not anymore. It takes a lot of awareness, and the ability to stop and think about the whys of our feelings, emotions, and behaviors in response to this specific stimulus, and family issues in general. Why am I reacting so strongly (or not at all)? Why are my emotions creating this action and feeling within?
Then what am I being called to do by my mind and body to feel better? Is that healthy? If not, what can I do instead?
A lot might come up when stopping to think about these things, and yet it’s quite possible to do so (stop and ponder), and to turn around negative feelings to positive and caring feelings toward self. I love being able to help others do just that, in and out of my regular coaching time.
Family is an Important Value for Me
One of my major and consistently vital values in life has always been family. Growing up with a life-threatening illness, it was always so important for me to have help. By the time I went off to college and beyond, I was a bit more independent, but still very much relied – maybe a bit too heavily at times? – on help from others than they might have liked; but especially my family. For those reasons, I came to appreciate my family all the more, even without the rock and glue in my mother, who by grad school, had passed away. It’s still very important to spend the time speaking to her and writing to her, even more than sitting and wallowing as I look at pictures.
*If there is someone you are really missing right now, but cannot speak to, try this tip for a bit of a release. It doesn’t always get rid of negative emotions to the fullest extent, but it may make things a lot lighter.KEG Tip
Family support and listening ears have been hugely important in this process for me. It’s true, though, again, that this is not always available for everyone who needs it. What to do when family support is not an option? Well, you create your own support circle by varying means, my dear!
My heart is out there for everyone who feels whatever way about their mothers. Because Mother’s Day is about celebrating not only mothers, but the love that comes from the best mothers out there… love that is deserved and given to everyone, no matter who it actually comes from or goes to. To mothers.
*I want to give an opportunity to work with me here in this post. If you are feeling weighed down, like there is something you can’t let go – maybe pain and grief from loss, or the weight of unforgiveness of someone or something – please don’t go it along. Let’s have a chat and see what it might look like to work with me on finding and activating more joy. Find a time below to get on my calendar. Peace, love, and joy, superheroes!