It's been three years since I've seen my mother. It was three years ago that I sat down with her over lunch in a restaurant to listen to her heart, and to discuss all that I had poured out in a letter to her about how her abuse towards me had negatively impacted my life, and my desire for us to move forward healthily. I met up with my mom with the hopes of finding reconciliation because I had finally found it in my heart to forgive her. My hopes for reconciliation were refuted and it stung.
True and sincere reconciliation can only be had when we face the truth of our past abuse. Confessing and acknowledging how we've been wronged and/or how we've wronged another is what brings healing to the shame and distortions we've carried, and paves the way for appropriate relationships to be established. On the other hand, when there is no acknowledgement (no talking, no feeling, and no dealing) and no owning of responsibilities (denial, justification, rationalization, minimization, and blame shifting), authentic reconciliation cannot be had. In fact, firm boundaries are necessary to be put into place. In my case, I do not see my mother (or step-father) at all.
I haven't only been grieving the loss of my mother for three years, I have been grieving the loss of the mother I never had and deserved. It has taken me over thirty years to accept this loss and move on. And it's in this moving on that I have discovered that I am not completely motherless. I do have a mother--many mothers in fact.
You see, I discovered that having a mother doesn't require being genetically related. Family does not always have to share your blood. Sometimes the closest people to you aren't necessarily related to you. Sometimes the ones that love you, see you, and accept you the most are the people you simply live life with, even if it's only for a season. They are the people at your work, school, church, neighborhood, club, and community.
So if you too are motherless, I write this to share that despite not having this significant relationship in your life, you are still loveable, acceptable, worthy, and significant. You can thrive. You can foster healthy relationships in your life. You can even mother well despite not feeling comfortable or natural in that role. You can be the mother that you never had and wanted to have to your own children. And when you've realized all these truths about yourself, let yourself be mothered and be that mother to someone else.
Chris is a wife and a stay at home mom of two children. She and her family enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping, playing games, and exploring new places together. Chris writes about marriage and parenting. She shares about her insights on her personal struggles with the intention that others might find validation, encouragement, and perspective.
Read more from Chris here.