Losing My Mom – Losing Myself
So for the past six years my Mom, the most beautiful, amazing woman I know, has been battling lymphoma. Until 2 years ago, it all seemed very manageable. Then, her health started to decline and has kept doing so at a steady pace. Recently, she is just a shadow of the woman she once was. I wish I could say I think she is living courageously, maybe in her own way she is. I can’t help but see a broken, scared, frail woman and in her despair I lose all sense of myself. Who am I without my Mom? She has always been my strength, my champion. Whenever there was heartache or doubt, confusion or trauma, she has been there with her quiet strength to support me or to hold me….always knowing exactly what I needed and when in her arms all the world was once again right. In the process of her illness I have found myself floundering in despair, drowning my sorrows with wine, losing my yoga practice and coccooning myself in a self imposed isolation. When I do go and visit her I see her small ravaged form and I hold her in my arms as if she were my child. Her bald head wrapped in the small cotton cap we purchased for her and her eyes dark pools of questioning….when will I be ok? I wish I could reassure her, I wish I could play the game the doctors play … tell her these treatments will work. As they destroy her body and her spirits that they also destroy the ugly cancer relentlessly growing inside of her. I wish my sister lived closer, we are each other’s strongest support. I wish my father would let us help, that he would stop alienating us and trying desperately to do it all himself. I wish … I wish she didn’t choose all of this suffering. Invariably all of this wishing leaves me with the deepest melancholy…and I call to mind the poem by Mary Oliver:
though the whole house
“Mend my life!”
the only thing you could do–
And I know that the only life I can save is my own. That my Mother’s journey, hard as it may be to witness, is a testament to her strength. That it is an honor to walk beside her and learn these deep lessons from her…that pain is what cracks the heart open so the light can come in.
And most importantly…that she continues to teach me how to Love.
“The heart of the mother is the greatest power of Infinity ever given to any finite being.” ~ Yogi Bhajan