It’s been three months since mom died from Alzheimer’s. I knew this day would come.
The last few years I traveled 500 miles every six weeks to dance and play with Mom. (I am so glad I memorialized that journey!) Now the pattern has changed and I’ve felt the need to experience my mother as gone, so today I am at Lake Elsinore visiting with George, her partner.
The May weather is perfect. As we reminisce and sort through pictures, I sense Mom growing happier, more beautiful, funnier, and peaceful. I cry every now and then. It is good to miss her.
How do we prepare to lose a mother?
My husband’s mother died from breast cancer when he was 12. His brothers were 9 and 7. Her illness and loss are traumatic. Grief got a front row seat and never left it. I watch these men continuously suffer and survive.
Can no one replace a mother? Stephen and I joke about dead mother shows. Every other film seems to pivot around someone’s motherloss.
I have a crackpot theory that souls cry out for divine mothering yet many of us are bereft of ritualized images or stories of the divine feminine. Not true of male imagery, there’s oodles of that. As a consequence we easily project our need for HER on mortal women who never fail to disappoint and devastate us. It’s a nasty set-up.
As a wife, teacher, and occasional minister and even to myself I say, “I’m not your mother! Do you know where your divine mother is?”
I knew Alzheimer’s would take mom. I’d be motherless. So one day in Mumbai at a Cathedral named in honor of Mary, I bought a glow in the dark Mary to wear around my neck. I stood at her shrine, opened to her and asked her to take care of everyone I love. Something in me relaxed. Even now, in the middle of the night I look down at my heart to see her continuous glow.
I miss Mom. And, she’s part of the Great Mother now. Is it Mother Earth? The Divine Feminine? Or the Matrilineal DNA Song line? She offers me Nurture, Wisdom, Fierce Love, Procreative Capacity, and Beauty. I know where my mother is. She’s in my heart, my dancing, and as scientists say in my very DNA.
“Our mitochondrial DNA comes exclusively from our mothers, and because of this…geneticists and historians can trace maternal genealogies back for generations… Scientists have proposed that matrilineal lines around the world could be traceable back to one woman, called mitochrondrial Eve, who lived in Africa about 150,000 years ago—which would mean that every human being on earth is a descendant of mitochondrial Eve’s.”
Each of us must lose and find Mother. Sometimes we have to do this and also be one. Bless us all. Happy Mother’s Day.
Mom’s image of woman lying down.