Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm like mom...I'm not like mom...

You may recall that I am reading Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. It is helping me through my current struggle with myself. I am learning a few things. First and foremost I am learning that I am not nuts or at the very least my current state of nuttiness is perfectly normal and many go and have gone through it. That's comforting. As much as I have always wanted and love uniqueness, it's comforting that others have been where I am and been able to move on to more productive places in their lives.

The general gist of it is that I am trying to be like my mother and at the same time unlike her. Can you feel the problem huh, can you? I read through the anecdotes and can relate to them all. For example, I mean why do I bake apple pie for Thanksgiving when no one in my family even likes apple pie? Because mom did and it makes me feel somehow close to her or that I am making her a part of my present when I do a silly thing like bake a pie. Even those sugar cookies I make for my father. I think baking in general makes me think of her; it was her forte in the kitchen. She would bake, she taught me to bake, she baked with me, she let me bake and burn to my heart's content. It doesn't faze me when I have to trash it and start over because it's what we did. There are dozens of other examples.

On the other hand, I am starting to think that my weight has to do with her death too or her illness shall I say. Not entirely but partially. In the book I read over and over about women who avoided duplicating and feared the events/scenarios than lead to their mother's passing. If a mother always avoided going to the doctor maybe the daughter goes all the time and develops hypochondriac like symptoms to not do what 'caused' the mother's illness. In my example, my mother was never svelte but she (read: the family) was always on a diet, always watching her weight albeit unsuccessfully. She was never obese as I am but she had some extra pounds on her. She was never thin until before she was diagnosed with cancer. In reality I know that it had more to do with her divorcing my father than getting sick which didn't happen until a year later but I see it all mushed together because I wasn't living with her at the time. When I saw her after the divorce yes, she was loosing weight but not thin and then the next time I see her she was even thinner and then a month later diagnosis cancer. So, it makes me think has part of me subconsciously been sabotaging my efforts to a healthy weight because I don't' want to be as thin as she was and get cancer. Now, I realize that sounds a little kookoo but I am learning in this book that others have done similar things. There are other examples. Things I have done in my marriage and in my work life that I can also correlate like that but I don't want to get into that here.

The one thing that I already knew I was doing but thought it was a borderline nuts was mourn her over and over again. I really mean mourn not just miss her. Anything can be a trigger. Moments in my life that I so want to reach out to my mom and share with her especially things with my kids. I know she wanted so desperately to be a grandmother. And seeing someone/thing that reminds me of her. Years ago I saw a woman in an elevator put on lipstick just like my mother used to do. I don't do it that way and I had never seen anyone else do it that way and when that complete stranger in an elevator did that I felt like I was going to die from the overwhelming feelings that were suddenly pressing down on me. I don't remember getting off the elevator but the next thing I do remember was sitting in a toilet stall at the office crying as if the world were coming to an end. A friend found me there and brought me water, held me, tried to sooth me having no clue what had happened because I couldn't talk I could only cry and sob. It wasn't until days later that I was even able to tell her. Every time she saw me, she just hugged me and kept telling me it would be OK. Again, other examples are too many to list.

Then there are the milestones that surround her illness and death. Like what I am struggling with now, my age/her age. This was the last birthday she celebrated. Even though she was a poor example of how to be for this past year of my age due to her illness, I have no more example in her of how to be from now on. Holy crap that was hard to type. I need to stop here. More of this kinda stuff to come, I am sure but not right now.

1 comment:

Marcia Soto said...

O.K. now I'm crying too, because it is so close to home. I am the same age as her when she died...Cristina I miss you, you get me!