I would like to share with you what I’ve been feeling now that my mother has passed away. I have had the story that I need to be ‘strong’ for my family. It’s been many years that I have not allowed myself to freely show fear, joy, anger, excitement, disappointment, grief – forget being vulnerable! I’ve dealt with a lot of death in the recent years and I ‘had’ to be strong. I do not let anyone know that I am fearful of death & that I’m afraid that one day you too will leave me.
When Pipo & Mima died I ‘had’ to be strong for my wife & son. Mima was ill for many years with Alzheimer’s. She no longer knew who her family was. She did not know that she had a daughter, a son-in-law & grandson. I remember the day my wife asked her “I am your daughter, do you remember me?” and Mima replied “I don’t have a daughter!” She cried for days! I tried to protect my son from that. What would it feel like for him to hear that she has no clue of who he is. He can’t comprehend what is happening to her. I don’t know why I did not cry at her funeral – maybe to protect him or actually to protect me from feeling that pain.
When Pipo died, I promised Pipo that I would take care of my family. I promised him that I would not let anything happen to them. The seven months we took care of Pipo in our home, I protected my son from Pipo’s hollers of pain. I would create distractions so that he would not have to ‘deal’ with that & looking back – so that I can escape that pain.
Now fast forward to today. Again I pretended that I would be alright. My ‘strong suit’ really has me believing that I can deal with the death of mom. All this time I have been ‘strong’ & I can deal with death. BUT really I was pretending that I am OK. All this time I have been hiding the fact that I am afraid, feel vulnerable & alone. I kept myself busy so that I would not have to see mom wither away like a wilted rose. How that leaves me feeling is closed off from my own feelings.
So when I interact with friends and family, I am really hiding out. Hiding my feelings. I did not want to get too close because you too will leave me & I am going to hurt all over again! I would not tell you about my life, because of the fear that you may find me out or you may judge me. I get the feeling that I leave them in a funk trying to deal with my disconnect. For that I apologize.
So what you can count on from me is that I will be free to express my feelings, will no longer pretend to be strong & will be present to your (& my own) greatness. I promise to be there to hear you and to listen without judgement; I promise that I will be with you when you need me; I promise I will be free to be me.
What I ask of you is that when I leave you in a funk, that you stop and ask me “what just happened?” I know that these promises are big & I may falter sometimes. I ask that you not judge it, but stretch out a hand and help me up. I will not always get it right, but know that I will try.
Tomorrow is mom’s funeral service & I do not have to be ‘strong’ anymore. I do not need to pretend that I have it all together. I will be free to be me and free to be with you.
God has blessed our family with a great mother, but even more so with the legacy she created – a united family.
I love you all.