verb for·give \fər-ˈgiv, fȯr-\
Definition of forgive
•: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
•: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
•: to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)
Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary
I have had such difficulty writing what will be my last blog for <strong>The Lesbian Chronicles</strong> before I make the transition to <strong>Katharine’s Khronicles</strong>. I wanted to give you, my loyal readers something perfect and shiny and bright. I wanted to wrap up my last blog with silver ribbon and a blue box from Tiffany’s.
Instead you are getting my truth which is not wrapped with any bow but in yesterday’s newspaper,and I’m not even using the cartoon section but the obits, because I’m determined to plow through the detritus of my despair to sit Shiva for the death of my dream.
The greatest sorrow of my life has been my relationship with my mother. My first days were spent in an incubator in the ICU department of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, where my mother abandoned me for a business trip with my father to Québec City – ” Why would I have stayed with you in the hospital? The nurses were there!”
This past summer when I told my mother I needed to stay with her for two months due to my untimely exit from the apartment I had shared with my now ex – best friend Lorraine, her response was less than enthusiastic, so I then asked my mother to come back to Toronto to help me deal with the unpleasantness brought on by my exit from my aforementioned apartment.
” You know I’m not good with that stuff!” said my mom.
“Mommy!!! I need you!! I need you now!!!!” said my desperate self.
“I need you mommy!” was now looped through my brain and played non stop through out my day like an itchy ear worm.
I couldn’t stop myself. I understood intellectually that I did not win the good mother lottery prize but emotionally I was still four years old, begging my mommy to come to my tea party.
In my desperation I called a psychic I saw advertised on my Facebook feed. Rachel told me I needed to forgive my mother before I can move forward. Really? This is what I paid five dollars for? ( It was a special offer.)
What does it mean to forgive? One definition supplied by Miriam Webster is to stop feeling anger for the person who wronged you.
I have tried repeatedly to do just that. I really have. I have gone to therapy for years with hopes that I could come to some type of peace with my mother. I have talked incessantly about my situation with Jodee, my long time therapist. I thought I was making slow but steady progress, but in Montréal all healing went to hell in a hand basket. I felt unhinged, as if I literally was coming apart.
Growing up with chaos and madness, I had a hard time playing make – believe.
I did not enjoy Halloween as dressing up in costume made me anxious. I lived with parents that wore masks every day when they went outside our home. Just like the parents who caution their children to use their inside voices during school and synagogue; my parents used their inside face with me, and their outside face with others. The mask they showed to others so radically different than the one they showed to me at home, that I was forever after disturbed by masks of any kind, knowing what danger can lurk beneath.
I so wanted my mother to create a safe space for me here in Montréal, even though that had never happened before. I tried so hard to stay calm, attempting to talk to my young child as if she was existed separately as a real life four year old, something that I had not done before as it reminded me of my childhood fear of pretending to be anything but myself.
So I, like my mother before me, threw baby Katharine out to the wolves. I could not console her and I let her rage at being abandoned take me over. I so wanted my mother to come to my rescue during this one special circumstance.
I kept saying to her “Mom, you can redeem yourself now for all the damage that you had done before, all I ask is that you create a safe place here for me to rest and recoup until my new apartment becomes available in November.”
And each time I begged and each time I pleaded, I lost a little bit of my soul and a lot of my dignity but I could not help myself, so desperate was I to be seen. To make matters worse, as a retired psychotherapist, I understood intellectually that my mother was not ever going to give me what I needed, and in fact took pleasure in seeing her former jappy princess daughter reduced to sleeping on her not so comfy couch, but I was not able to make my brain meet my heart.
Weeks passed in this way, and then my birthday happened, or didn’t happen, to be more accurate. I had spent the weekend before my actual birthday celebrating with my best friend Marcus and his family. Before meeting Marcus I had an idea of what love should feel like, but did not have a body memory to go with it. Thanks to Marcus and his family, I now have experienced love as a felt sense. To celebrate my birthday, they surprised me with a weekend at the splendid Hovey Manor, located in the Eastern Townships.
When I came back from my weekend vacation I made the mistake of sharing my joy with my mother. If any of you out there in cyberland are familiar with the show Survivor, whenever the winner of a reward challenge gloats over their reward, the people left behind become resentful. I came home so happy that I broke my own rule about keeping my joy contained.
Too late. Now I was to be punished, and since the punishment level was in line with my joy, the punishment was extreme. My mother decided to banish me from her kingdom which meant that my birthday would not be acknowledged, no birthday cake, no birthday card.
” But I’m sixty, Mommy!! See me! Celebrate me!”
My shame at my bottomless need to be seen by her obfuscated my otherwise sound judgment. And still.. and still.
I’m back home in Toronto now, safely ensconced in my new cozy apartment. Every morning before I get out of bed and every night before I go to sleep, this agnostic Jew prays to the divine mother and my guardian angels and anyone else I can think of, saying my prayers out loud because I don’t want to take any chances on any unseen helpers not hearing my forgiveness plea.
“I release you mother, and the hold you have on my heart. I am going to do my best to stop blaming you for not being the mother I so desperately wanted, and try my best to live a life unencumbered by my albatross of shame and blame. Please dear Mother God send me your love and healing and if you’re feeling really generous, please send me my Beloved. I am ready to receive her now!”