Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Grief and Survivorship - My "Mom" E part 1

I've been quiet for quite a while now. I've been feeling in a bit of limbo. I am dealing with stress on a number of issues and am really feeling the pain and emptiness of my grief. It is hard to believe that it has been about 6 weeks since E died.

E (z"l - may her memory be a blessing) lived the last year of her life fighting this horrible form of cancer and I knew that she was going to die. I also knew that it was coming soon in the last weeks. Still it hurts so much to have her gone.

I've blogged before about her life and what she meant to me and I'm going to be doing more of it. I am really feeling the need to share about her life and feel like who she was and what she stood for didn't die with her. Of course those of us who loved her and love her still keep her alive, but I believe that sharing someone's life with others also helps to keep them alive.

One of E's great gifts to me was unconditional love. I grew up in a home without love. In that home, "love" was expressed through molestation and abuse. My mother is and was emotionally empty and not present. I never felt any kind of connection from her. Sad, but true. She was abused by my dad, witnessed his abuse of me and may have been abused by her father. She just had little to give to me. Food, shelter and clothing - themselves gifts which I don't take for granted - but nothing else. So, I never had a mother's love. Growing up I didn't understand the "mother bear" image and didn't get it when my friend's mothers seemed to love and nurture them.

In 1998 I began to get to know E. Through some work I was doing, I was at her home once or twice a week. Although the work I did there did not require her to be a hostess, she was always kind, gracious and welcoming. Soon, kind hosptiality turned to friendship. Then, friendship became deep and a mother/daughter/friendship relationship grew. E was the right age to be my mom and she never had any children of her own (she had 4 step-children from her late-in-life marriage more on that later). She began to shower me with appropriate, kind mom-like love.

To fast-forward a moment, in September when I went to see her and say goodbye, we talked about our relationship. Each of us talked about feeling like we are mother/daughter. As I type and remember the conversation, tears come to my eyes. I miss her. I love her. May her memory be a blessing.

Thanks for letting me share an amazing relationship and an amazing woman.
Thanks for reading.
Your sister survivor,

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