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“Life’s a long song…

February 6, 2007

…but the tune ends too soon for us all” ~Jethro Tull

Five long years gone…

From Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman:

“While most girls separate from their mothers during the teen years to create an individual identity and then spend the later years trying to return as an autonomous adult, the motherless daughter moves forward alone. Adulthood is significantly different experience for the woman who travels through it with a maternal void and the memory of a dramatic loss. You have to learn how to be a mother for yourself. You have to become that person who says, ‘Don’t worry, you’re doing fine.'”

“Here’s what I’ve learned about grief since then: It’s not linear. It’s not predictable. It’s anything but smooth and self-contained. Someone did us all a grave injustice by first implying that mourning has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.”

“At each milestone a daughter comes up against new challenges she’s frightened to face without a mother’s support, but when she reaches out for her, the mother isn’t there. The daughter’s old feelings of loss and abandonment return, and the cycle begins again.”

“Silence and suppression transformed me into an emotional mannequin. The night my mother died, I entered a survival zone of counterfeit emotion: no tears, no grief, little response at all except a carefully monitored smile and an intense desire to maintain the status quo. My mother had always been the parent who gave the children a safe place to cry. I needed someone to tell me it was all right to feel anger and despair, but I received only kudos for my synthetically mature, responsible behavior.”

“The ability to cognitively understand and comprehend the loss of a mother only comes with numerous times of bumping up against reality- she’s not here, she’s not here, she’s not here- as we go through life and miss her and want to see her or hold her and she’s not with us.”

“The daughter mourns not only what was lost, but what will never be.”

“When a mother dies during her daughter’s adolescence, what would otherwise have been a temporary separation with the hope of later reconciliation then becomes an irrevocable physical fracture. ‘Wait a minute!’ the daughter wants to shout. ‘I didn’t mean it. Come back!’ You hope she didn’t leave with the terrible feeling that you didn’t love her.”

“I couldn’t deal with most of my friends at the time. They would complain about how much homework they had to do, and I would think, ‘Big deal. How can you be upset about that when my mother has died?”

“Adolescents, as they undergo symbolic separation from their families, actually have much in common with orphans: feelings of alienation, isolation, and low self-esteem; turbulent home conditions; and a fear of being left out.”

“The twenties are the years most women pinpoint as the time when they first realized their mothers had qualities- empathy, wisdom, experience- they would value in a friend. To lose a mother at this time, just as the point when one seems to have found her again, feels like a cruel trick.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2007 3:55 pm

    Aww…I’m really sorry. Like Cristina tells George in a recent Grey’s Anatomy episode, I can’t sympathise fully unless I’ve suffered the same loss. So I hope you take this outsider’s carefully proffered condolences.

    I loved the obituary though.

    On a brighter note, I love your blog! Your writing comforts slightly-insane underachieving medstudents like myself. Consider yourself blogrolled. I hope you don’t mind the heading I’ve given you 🙂

  2. February 7, 2007 11:34 pm

    i think i like our group :~)

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