Am I my mother’s daughter?

I had an experience this morning that made me pause to examine what disappointments are made of. Prompts me to ask myself again, are most disappointments ours to begin with, or did we model the feeling of disappointment from our own parents only to pass them onto our kids unknowingly? As a grief coach, one of the exercises I have my clients do is map out a loss timeline, listing every significant loss in their lives. Often, not wanting to disappoint, seeking approval for others, were often top the lists of why people grieved alone, or without support.

Often, we lean into our family by default in times of crisis and loss.  More often than not, we also model the same behaviors unconsciously, almost like an imprint by default. If you are the strong and silent type, did you ever ask yourself, where did that come from? Or if you are the martyr type, always being strong for others while inside, you broke into a hundred pieces, did you stop to ask yourself, is that REALLY you?

Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. She would have been 81 this year. Having just celebrated a birthday myself last week, I find myself asking more often than not, in which ways am I my mother’s daughter. What traits did I inherit, good or bad? And which have I made my own?  

This morning, I awoke to a deep longing for a connecting with my mother. After meditation, I sat and had a brief conversation with her. Still longing for her presence, I called my father. The conversation was 2 people struggling to meet somewhere vaguely in the middle. In my mid 40’s I only  yearn for my own familial connection sparingly, during significant dates such as today.  Today, I let my guard down and the tears came. Tears of letting go, release, and more acceptance, woven with letting go of control, of 20/20 hindsights of what I know now.

Having practiced what I preach to others today, I leave you with this thought. If you find yourself wandering down memory lane during your own grief journey, consider asking yourself, what part of it you can claim as your own, what part you are ready to accept, things will most likely never be the same again, and neither will you. The good thing is, after acceptance, things always feel lighter, somehow. And yes, practice loving kindness to yourself. 

This entry dedicated to my mother, and all mothers out there tonight. This was a photo taken about 11 years ago, the happiest I had ever seen her. This is how I remember my mother. Tonight. 

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