Lessons from Mom – Choices

Ever since that morning over oatmeal when my mother told me that she was leaving, that she could no longer handle the burden of motherhood, that she needed to build her own life in her own way, my mother reflected to me the power of owning your own choices.  While I rarely agreed with the choices that my mother made after that, she did at least make her own choices.


When my own daughter was around 5 or 6 years old my mother was back in my life for a time or at least was trying to be but on this particular day she had promised my daughter that she was coming to visit. I had my usual intuition set in that this wasn’t going to happen but I had not spoken to my mother on the phone, my daughter had, she sat by the living room window near the time that my mother should have shown up and as the clock ticked by, I watched my daughters excitement turn to confusion to sadness to hurt.  I tried to reach my mother and as was typical when she would say something with no intention of following through, she simply didn’t pick up the phone.  I sat with my daughter in my lap, tears streaming down her face, she didn’t understand why her grandmother would say one thing and do another.


On this day, I needed to make sure that my daughter understood that it wasn’t her fault, that for whatever reason her grandmother loved her so much that she couldn’t bear to tell her that she couldn’t come and witness the heartbreak that was now happening anyway.


On this day, I knew that I needed to step in, I was an adult, I had a child that was being hurt and while I couldn’t stop that hurt entirely I could at least do my own bit for damage control.  The next day when I was finally able to reach my mother, I told her that she wasn’t welcome in my life anymore or the life of my children.  The damage had been too consistent for too long and I had just reached my limit particularly when I saw it impacting my own children.


After that day I probably only saw my mother another four times or so, at her mother’s (my grandmother’s) funeral and a few other times when she was thinking that she was close to death’s door. I had made my own choice, a hard choice but a choice that limited my children from being exposed to plenty of damage over the years and kept the damage that I had to face to more of a manageable minimum.


Five years ago, late on a Friday afternoon in September I got a call from my sister. She called to tell me that my mother’s hospice nurse had said that she would likely not make it 24 hours and that I should come. I hung up the phone got on the internet to try to find flights. With no direct, easy route to get there and it already being late in the day it was going to be noon the following day at the earliest before I could get there any way, I sliced it.  I had a choice to make, leave now spend several hours during the night in an airport waiting to transfer planes or wait for an early morning flight that would get me in around mid-afternoon knowing that I may not make it either way.  I held a seat on the early morning flight and called my sister to tell her that the soonest I could get there was the next afternoon.  I am the oldest of three girls and two of my other sisters were with her saying their goodbyes.


After some text messages with a shaman mentor of mine reminding me that I could journey to see my mother, I did just that.  I went into meditation, called in Archangel Michael to go with me and I “went” to say goodbye to my mother in prayer. She told me that she was sorry, she told me that she just didn’t know how to be a grownup and I was always much more suited to it. She was sorry for the hurts. I told her that I was sorry that I had to keep her at such a distance, but it always felt like the right choice, she told me that while she missed me and missed her grandchildren it probably was the right choice.


In the end, we got to make our peace, acknowledge that we each had our choices and as two empowered souls we said goodbye, I ended my journey to her leaving Archangel Michael with her, the last picture I have of my mother is the one in my mind of her laying there in bed making peace with her life with an angel by her side. She passed about an hour later.  Occasionally I feel her with me, like she is still learning how to be an adult from me just from the other side. I am grateful to her for all of the lessons that she left me with because even those that were hard, were gifts that serve me very well today like living with and owning my own choices.

The picture with this post is from the last time I ever saw her alive, it was an afternoon visit of me stopping in, buying groceries, doing her hair and then going back to my own life. That was all I could do and that too was my choice.