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Shit my mom said

Allow me to paint a picture for you…

Many, many moons ago during the Great Depression in England, my mother was born. She was educated by nuns in Catholic boarding schools and developed and maintained the stuffy “stiff upper lip” persona that many English folks still exhibit. My mom is a very kind woman and instilled that value in all of her children – but she has never really been overly comfortable with being or feeling emotionally vulnerable which at times can come across as cold and unnurturing. And by sometimes, I mean during the worst possible times.

My experience with breast cancer got off to a great start with my mother saying completely inappropriate and unhelpful things. My logical mind kept reminding myself “She doesn’t mean that – she just doesn’t know how to cope or make sense of this” but there were definitely times that she said things I’m not sure anyone would say to someone they actually liked.

Against my initial instinct not to, I called her the evening I got the diagnosis. The fact that I called my closest friends first should be an indication of how comforting I knew the call with her would be. I wasn’t dreading the call, I simply knew she wouldn’t be capable of giving me the emotional support I needed at that time. She was of course shocked about the news, immediately told me not to dwell on negative things and then proceeded to complain about how uncomfortable her drive with her husband had been earlier in the day because he wouldn’t stop anywhere to even get a coffee. It was in this moment that I, after many years of just not understanding her, saw her as a vulnerable woman terrified for her daughter. I immediately understood how she must have been feeling and was able to see her through the eyes of compassion.

Thankfully I developed this perception immediately because the following days would result in phone calls from her where she said things like:

  1. Make sure you get Reiki every single day. A woman she used to know who had breast cancer was seeing her & her husband daily for Reiki and then died because she stopped coming. SHE DIED FFS!!
  2. I was meditating and was told by Spirit that the reason this is happening to you is because you are going to die soon and your soul contract in this life is ending. You choose your path before you come to this planet and if it’s your time to go, then it’s your time to go (I’m legit serious – she said this to me the day before I met with the surgeon and just seconds after I had told her I had never been more scared of anything in my life).

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. The whole “you’re going to die soon” comment literally haunted me for months. Even though I choose to see it as her own coping mechanism to help her mentally prepare for the worst possible situation that could happen to her which in her mind would be losing a child, this horrible conversation followed me to every appointment I went to. To every scan, ultrasound, meeting with oncologists, and while I repeatedly waited for results. It kept me awake at night, and often found its way to the forefront of my mind as soon as I opened my eyes from the scattered bits of sleep I was getting. It lingered as doubt and fear inside me and constantly reminded me of how angry I was that she said something like that to me during the most difficult and emotional time of my life. What if she was right?! Appointments and waiting for results is already terrifying but this comment hung around waiting for a chance to say “I TOLD you so!” It reminded me that my mother, who was supposed to be the one person in the whole world who nurtured me was waiting for me to fail or worse – die. It was, in fact, a constant reminder of what I believe to be the root of all of this which was my perception that I lacked feeling loved and being nurtured for my entire life.

When we look at things from an energetic perspective, breasts represent nurturing. Mothering, caring, giving and unconditional love. Illness around this indicates a lack of or blockage in this critical part of every human’s life and while I know my mother loves me, her inability to cope with her own emotions in a healthy way affected her ability to make her children feel that they were loved unconditionally. That lack of feeling nurtured manifested itself in me as a lifetime of self doubt, and low self esteem. That negative self image I carried attracted unfulfilling jobs, abusive relationships and never quite being good enough.

I do not “blame” my mother or anyone else for cancer or any other experience. Blame does not have power or a place in my life and I regret nothing and no one. My mother is a beautiful woman whose intentions have always been good even though her position has at times seemed ass backwards. We can gain a lot of perspective when we choose to see others for who they are as people beyond just who they are to us specifically. Every one of our parents did the best job they could with what they knew. Everyone we share our life’s experiences with has had many roles and was also experiencing their life as someone’s child, mother, father, aunt, sister, employee, etc. and if we can look at things through the eyes of compassion for ourselves and others it allows us to have an understanding of where things come from. We can see how powerful emotions are and tap into the remarkable gift and perfect key to understanding our life lessons and our soul’s mission.

This experience has taught me the importance of love in its many expressions in our ability to thrive as a community on this planet; in our families, with our friends, at our jobs and everything in between. It’s taught me that there are even more things I would never ever say to anyone, such as, telling them they’re going to die. Like ever. Even if they really are and they know it and have signed their own forms for assisted dying. And, it’s also shown me that this lack of love that I experienced, or rather my perception of a lack of love is actually…an opportunity to see the love around me. In all of its many expressions, presenting itself to me as an opportunity to heal myself and love some more.

Me. For reals, after some of the shit my mom said.
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