Mom learned life the hard way as the youngest daughter of an alcoholic and she carried secrets and sorrow to her grave that will never be told. Once in a while, a small part of her story was shared but not often. Being from that silent generation meant discussing hurts from the past was not acceptable nor encouraged. Keeping a stiff upper lip and plodding through was the order of the day and Mom did that well. Alcohol (along with any abuse) is the front runner of "secretitis". You learn fast how to keep your mouth closed and eyes averted when subjects come up that are too close to heart and home.
In the beginning of my walk in recovery as the mother of an addict, I heard the phrase early on that "you're as sick as your secrets". Thinking through the stages of my life as an adult filled with tumultuous and troubling moments I realized that I was not well at all! And through the years now of recovery for me, as I've peeled back layer by layer I've thought often of my dearly departed mother. I'm saddened to think that she bore her pain mostly alone. I'm pretty certain that she didn't talk a lot a about her pain with Dad because that just wasn't the way it was done. My wonderful father is a stalwart who struggles to communicate verbally on the things that are close to his heart. But once in a while, in the still of the evening often after mom was in bed, Dad would wistfully talk a little bit about the hand mom had been dealt. He was angry about the way she had been treated in her young life by her parents and vowed that he would never abandon my mother. Therefore, she would remain at home all of her days, which she did.
Mom had a strong personality and a twinkle in her eye that truly seemed to live out the words of the beloved song When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. She loved her children the best way she knew how. I believe in my heart that the unfinished business with alcohol robbed her of her full potential as I've struggled in my own way of fulfilling mine as well. Only now as I approach the golden years do I feel that I'm coming into "my own".
Mom never knew or accepted her own beauty. She was extremely uncomfortable in front of a camera and most of her early pictures reveal an almost stern look to which she would remark regularly that she didn't like to see herself in pictures. Later in life, those feelings seemed to finally begin to dissolve. At the viewing for my mom, her friends remarked that mom was very smart in school and barely had to study. But that seemed to be a hidden gem as well as my mother believed my dad to be the king of intelligence and hid behind his place in life.
Ah, Mother, you are now at rest and will never be under the struggle of comparisons, or feeling inferior to others.You will never hear tapes replayed in your head that were hurtful or negative. You had so much to offer the world yet you offered it all to us. You filled us up with encouraging words that were never whispered to you and believed that each of your children could change the world if we chose. My only hope is that you knew how much you were loved here by your family. You struggled to grasp that God, your Creator, loved you enough to accept you and set you free in your eternal life. I'm so thankful we cleared that up before you left! Your Homecoming was a wonderful celebration of your life, dear Mom. All heaven rejoiced that day!
Your life impacted me so much Mom, and I thank you for your constant belief in me. Your beauty and lovely fragrance still radiate today.