This morning I awoke to the news, posted on Facebook, that my mother had died.
I suppose I'm too raw to be writing this, but here I go. Earlier when the tears I've begrudged myself since childhood burst forth, the thought occured to me that, of all my siblings, my grief is doubled. I must grieve the loss of someone who gave me life, and then grieve for the love she never gave me.
For all the decades since my early childhood, our family has survived on lies and distortions, on public nicities and filthy things swept under the carpet. For the first time since my 7th year I stand here, emotionally raw, and not caring who knows. No more surface niciites, is what I tell myself. Let the truth explode and fall where it may.
I know there are those who will assume I have no feelings about my mother's death because we were estranged for over 10 years. If anything, that estrangement makes the fact of her death nearly unbearable. No chance of resolution now. No more questions and half-truth answers. I'm set free by her death, yes, in some ways. In more ways than I'm sure I'm able to realize just now I am never to experience full freedom from the bondage of being the unloved daughter. How could I be? It's a testament to the primal need in all of us to bond with the one who gives us life that, in not having that bond, we suffer beyond human expression.
I'm not taking phone calls nor answering texts. I can't. If I speak of this, the death of my mother, I will not be able to keep myself together enough to get through the next minute. Even as I pull away, avoiding those who mean well, I think how stupid it is that I feel I must tend to my wounds alone, like an animal in the forest. But it's how I've gotten through my life, and too late to begin learning new ways now. Or too soon.
I would not have wanted my mother's death in exchange for my freedom. No part of me wished for her to die from the excruciating pain of colon cancer. Earlier I went on FB and posted a photo of me, when I was about 2, with my mother. I wrote her name and her date of birth and date of death, and then: RIP.
I felt I could do that much to honor her: acknowledge publicly her death.
Behind and next to and inside of everything I think is the whispered question, But why couldn't she love me?