One of these days I’m going to receive a phone call informing me of my mother’s death. She’s had cancer for a few years, and ever since then I’ve been dreading that fateful phone call. It’s not that her death would leave a big hole in my life, a big loss in my heart.
When my mother dies there will be no more chance, forever, of her loving me. We all have an inherent need to be loved, unconditionally, by our mothers. I’ve figured out some things about my relationship with my mom, and one of them is that it was doomed from the beginning. For decades I thought the distance between us was the result of what her hubby did to me for 8 years. But relations between us were skewed from the get go. My mother, I’ve come to see, has always resented me, been jealous of me. I don’t know the reasons for this and it probably wouldn’t help much to know. But discovering that her hubby preferred me to her certainly didn’t help matters any.
I haven’t been in touch with her for 5 years. When I think of ever talking to or seeing her again, I want to curl up into the fetal position and stay that way until the day I die. So you see, it’s not that I want a relationship with her. I don’t even want her to love me, necessarily. It’s too late for that. It’s not gonna happen. I know that. I know that as surely as I know that she’s never been on my side.
So what do I want? Why should I care if she dies? I want to have the option of a loving mother/daughter relationship. I want that option. Whether I say yes or no to it, I want to make that choice myself. I want to experience that delicious sense of knowing you have someone’s unconditional love, and so you can be careless with it because nothing you did earned it, and nothing you do can destroy it. And I care if she dies because that deprives me for all eternity of ever making that choice. As selfish as that sounds, that’s why her death will hit me hard.
My mother will die and take with her to her grave the miserly withholding of love she so begrudged me. She will slam the door in my face on all possibilities of any other kind of ending between us. She tells others (as I’ve heard from some relatives) that I don’t want her in my life, so what can she do. But the truth is, if one of my sons cut me out of their lives, I would want to know why, and I would pursue them. I would pursue them. She’s never lifted so much as a pinky to reach out to me.
As for knowing why I ended our relationship, who am I kidding? She knows.
(How could you not love me when I was so cute?)