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The Rose: movie and mother

michelle cole

One of my favorite music inspired films stars Bette Midler as a young, love-seeking lost soul who happens to be a very wealthy, popular rock star. She flies from concert to concert in her personal jet, surrounded by band members, groupies and her manager; not always sure where she’s coming from or going to. Along the way she falls in love with a man who soon realizes the pressure she lives with, she kidnaps a young soldier who becomes her personal bodyguard and all the while she is revving up for her big hometown concert. In the end her desire to live a simple life with a man she loves isn’t enough to overcome her desire to be on stage. Her coming home is bittersweet, crouching in the passenger seat as she’s driven past her old home-her parents going on with life in the front yard. For reasons made clear earlier in the movie, it is especially sad to watch her dialing her parents from a phone booth near her high school football field. I simply cannot watch this movie without being moved to tears, and not the gently gliding tears down your cheek kind of cry!

At the time it was released I recall hearing adult ‘buzz’ about it being based on the life of some female rock star from the 60’s that I, at 11, was not familiar with. I remember how happy I was that I had parents who bought the soundtrack; it still is one of my favorites to sing along with and just get LOUD. I imagine it is a good thing our neighbors aren’t in hearing range. It is difficult for me to hear Bette’s version of When A Man Loves A Woman and not just open up from my core and BELT IT. I think I’ve felt my eyes almost pop from their sockets a few times, but I love singing that ‘with’ her.

The Rose was released in 1979, the year I was 11 for 11 months: the year my brother David committed suicide. I was reeling with feelings of abandonment and guilt for having ever wished he’d die. Most siblings have moments of wishing a brother or sister simply didn’t exist. Those wishes haunt you when they suddenly don’t. To this day I have 2 pieces of his ID: his skate park photo badge and a fake ID. I was trying to grasp why he had done it, for an 11 year old he seemed grown up at 19. I simply couldn’t understand what could have been so bad-I was still years away from my own teenage angst of feeling unloved.

My mothers name is also Rose and can attest that losing a child leaves unique scars, to be sure. It’s been over a year since I had my reading with Dana, where ‘Mother and Public’ were the main themes sticking out of me like antennae. And, yes, Mother is becoming more and more of a theme for me and sometimes in surprising ways. Oh mother, shall I name the ways? Here are a few of the most notable:

1. One of my dear friends is an incredible mother of 3 amazing children. The kind of mother who is helping her son understand his ability to see people’s auras and guiding her daughters to fully be exactly as they are. Believe me, they need no direction, just guidance! I wish more parents had her courage.

2. I was contemplating the type of touch I use when I’ve explored energy work with my friends and animals and the words “Mothers Touch” came to mind. A respectful, loving and healing touch that desires only to heal and is always appropriate.

3. While setting my space with my reflection one morning I had this ‘epiphany’ moment where I felt my ‘higher self’, the essence of Michelle Cole beyond this body. I could easily visualize loving hands from the heavens embracing me with motherly love and the thoughts in my head were something like this: “I created you, your body I sculpted as if from clay with love-creating every flaw and every perfection it carries. You are perfect as you are. I love you. So should you.”

4. My mother is on my mind quite often as I struggle with words that must be said and won’t be comfortable. Through Mother I am learning what the “work” in spiritual work might be hinting at. The beautiful thing is when I had that moment and felt as though I were literally my own Mother; it completely took Rose ‘off the hook’. It was that feeling of weight being lifted off your soul.

5. Recently a young man came to work for my store and I adored him from the moment I saw him. He reminded me of a sweetly mischievous Pixie. He is who he is and apologizes to no one for it. It took me a moment to realize what I felt for him: I adored him without worry of how he felt about me. It was the love and pride of a mother: how freeing to not worry about how he perceived me! Not only was this a new experience for me, I didn’t sit in silence with it: I told him. “I wish I were your Mom-I would be so proud of you if you were my son!”

6. In a strange twist of synchronicity, a day of especially strong Mother references was also the day I watched Lady Gaga perform on Saturday Night Live. I watched her perform while acting out a pregnancy and birth and watched a little slack jawed at the flash of “Mother Monster” across the screen. I felt almost overloaded with “Mother” and maybe it was just the last ‘straw’, it just seemed like the Universe wants me to really honor this newfound connection to mothering I am discovering.

I don’t know if this ties it all in a nice bow, but for me it seems to all come together so nicely. In that original reading with Dana, I asked about David and she felt strongly that the subject should be left alone. She asked if I could do that, which I thought about for a second and decided I could. I don’t know if it hit me right then or took awhile to sink in, but what I came to realize is that it wasn’t about whether David is still ‘around’, whether he looks in on me or not. What I needed to learn to do was let go of being the sister of a boy who killed himself. I held that so tightly, even into my 40’s, realizing it or not that was still how I ‘saw’ myself. It was time to step out of the sadness and loss and into the woman I want to become. I often think of a saying that goes something along the lines that “My past creates me, it doesn’t define me”

The fact was I thought I was ‘done’ with David’s death and had no idea how tightly I was clinging to the idea of being a survivor of suicide. It was more than just a change of perspective; it felt like cleaning house, making room for the new


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