Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I miss my mother; she finally died in 2001. I say "finally" because she talked about dying since I was 17 years old, some 39 years earlier. We were close; experts say we were too close. They called our relationship co-dependent.

I didn't even know that word until I was 50 years old. Well, I had heard it in connection with my father and mother and his being an alcoholic. But, I didn't know that co-dependent relationships existed outside of alcoholism. So, the therapist shocked me by calling Mom and I co-dependent. She said that we weren't always sure where one of us stopped and the other began, and I realized that was true. When Mom had hot flashes, I had sympathy hot flashes.

And, I kept going home to Mom. When things didn't work out exactly as I had planned, Mom always brought me home. Even though she continued to hope that I would stay, I always left again - trying to escape the hold that she had on me. I remember once when my husband and I were living with her that he said he was leaving – leaving there, leaving me. I screamed and told him he couldn’t leave that I would die there. So we left together.

Then Mom got sicker and could no longer live alone; she came to live with us. The marriage did not survive that move, that renewal of the co-dependency, that depression. So, I lived with Mom until I simply could not live there any longer. She was crushed when I left, fearful for her well-being, fearful for her financial situation, sad because she had been deserted once again.

If you know anything about co-dependency, you know from reading this that I loved my Mom dearly, and I know that she loved me. I miss her, her willingness to listen, her cooking, her comfort, and I’m grateful for the life she gave me and the innumerable times she “saved” me (often from myself).

I’m also glad that she’s dead. With the therapy and her death, I have become more self-sufficient, more stable, happier with my life, and less of a control freak. I like me now. I hope she likes me, too.

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