It was on May 8th, 1981 that my Mom passed away from cancer. Today, Mother’s day, is the 30th anniversary of that tragic day. It might as well have been yesterday for me; yes the wounds have healed as much as is possible over this large amount of time, but the lingering effects will haunt me for the rest of my life.
I will never forget the beginning of that day. I was sleeping when the call came in. My grandparents were staying at the house; my Grandfather was sleeping in a single bed across my bedroom from me. When that call came in my Dad answered the phone. I just knew what it was about even though I was only nine. Like good adults they tried to keep the fact that she was dying from me. But I knew.
My Dad came into the room to break the news to me. I recall saying to him “Do I have to go to school today?” Even in tragedy there was this one brief moment of a sliver of humor to this. Who would send their kid to school the day their mom passed away?
So as the years went by I have battled this undefeatable demon, this empty void that has been left behind. I used to work with an energy worker who was the first person to really point out that I reeked of “Who’s my mother?” I have walked this lonely and endless trail of attempting to fill the void and nothing has worked except for the spiritual path.
We all face the emptiness of life. Most are able to fill the void with superficial stuff. The only things that are of sustenance are family. My whole family has been fractured. This was my Dad’s second marriage. He also tragically lost his first wife. I have half siblings and we are all affected deeply and tragically by these losses. My Dad, I have no idea how he managed to get through all this pain, was the glue that held us together for years.
The substance of this glue has been humor. We are a very funny, though dysfunctional, family that has been able to develop a great sense of humor despite the sadness that is underneath the humor. But like everything in life the humor is a layer that covers over a deeper darker pitfall into depression for me.
I have covered up my sadness with all kinds of self medicating, from drinking, to eating bad foods, to playing countless hours of video games, to working out like a madman. Nothing has eroded the sinewy layers of sadness except for meditating and doing yoga.
Everything happens for a reason. I can’t picture my life if she had lived…oh how different I would be. I wouldn’t be this combination of this sad, funny, hyper person who wears his emotions on his sleeves and strives to break through the delusions of life.
My awareness has grown to great levels of the things that ail me-I know the trigger points of why I suffer, now I must be patient in defusing them. I know the anchor of my suffering is based in my Mom’s passing. It is almost a sense of infinity-that is attempting to heal the wounds and the gigantic emptiness of memories and emotions that should be there. But this is not a fair world and I understand that. I have questioned time and time again “Why Lord?” Silence is the answer I get time and time again.
I am as logical as the next guy-but there is no logic here. I was left, in a sense; part of me internally will always be the age of when she passed away. They often talk about the inner child in psychology; well I know from my own experience that my inner child is still so lost and afraid to this day. Many of my struggles in my life can be traced right back to the overwhelming feeling of isolation and loneliness that likes to crawl through the cracks of my personality and seep out and affect my life still.
But there is always a silver lining in the darkest cloud. I wouldn’t have turned inward as much as I have done if she had lived. God or the Universe meant this as a huge challenge for me. Any time we suffer a great loss it is like a wakeup call. But do you hear it? I have learned not to take things for granted and to cherish the people in my life as much as I can. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take things for granted, or am not selfish at times, or what not. But my perspective of the world is forever changed at how I look at the human condition as well as how I view myself in this short life. In that sense it is a silver lining. Looking through life through the filter of sadness is not fun but it does make a lot of the superficial stuff fall away and leaves a feeling of what is underneath the surface behind. I love you Mom, God rest your soul.