Good Mother

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program…

I know I promised you all a stunning series on how I will open my magic bag of wonder tricks to begin clearing my house clutter. It will come. Probably next week. In the mean time, I wanted to express some sorrow and my hope for my best friend from 8th and 9th grade, Brooke.

This past weekend, Brooke’s mother, Liza, died.   She was Brooke’s best friend, her strongest ally, and generally, a super cool lady. This is a deep loss. In her own words, “In a blink of an eye my life has changed. My heart is forever altered. My world will never be the same.”

She’s right.  As an existing member of the Dead Mother’s Club, I know it doesn’t matter how old you are or how close the two of you were, losing your mother is a heart-altering experience. At the moment when we lose her, we feel that we are left with a hole in our hearts. For a long time, we believe it is a void that only she can fill with her living presence. We believe we need her here with us – in body – so she can go on loving us unconditionally or to simply be available to make amends one day. When she goes, we feel we will never again be able to find all those things we believed only she could provide. We are empty.

I, too, labored for years under this misapprehension. Only until recently, when I began reconnecting with my essential self again, did I realize that I was wrong.

I know now that when my mother, Betty, died 17 years ago, she did not leave me with an empty hole in my heart. She left a hole that she filled with all the love she wished for me throughout my life. She filled it with all the things she wished she’d have time to say to me. She poured into it all the dreams she dreamt for me.   In this hole she left me wisdom, valor, joy, sadness, love, laughter, forgiveness, and hope. She left me all the gifts I needed to go on without her. She left me as her legacy – to live a life fuller, more satisfying, and richer than her own. She left me everything I needed to be my best, most authentic self. She left me the capacity to find all of those hidden treasures inside me, but only when I was ready.

For those of you who grew up without a close, loving relationship with your mother, it doesn’t mean she didn’t leave you with all these same things inside of you. She may not have shown you how much she wanted for you in life. She may not have told you what dreams she held for you. She may never have even had the courage to tell you she loved you. She may have been too sick or scared or wrapped up in her dirty pain to tell you, show you, or teach you any of these things directly.

This does not mean the lessons are not there.  Sometimes they are a little harder to find, but they are there. All you need to do is dig a little deeper, working through all painful, limiting beliefs and setting aside the hurt, the sadness, or the resentment.  In the end, the question is: Do you actually need your mother to have told you these things to know at your deepest level that you are strong, lovable, unique, appreciated, and capable? That you are deserving of a rich, beautiful, fulfilling life?

Chances are I don’t know if your mother was a good mother to you or not. All I need to know is that she gave us the gift of YOU, and that is good enough for me.