My relationship with my mom since she’s passed has been morphing from one of frustration to one of inspiration in many ways. She had this quote from Charles Fillmore hanging in every single house we lived in the whole time I was growing up. He wrote this when he was 94:

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

My mom was always moving, always doing. Whether it was cooking, sewing, painting, or building something from an idea she dreamed, she was making it happen, even if she lost interest halfway through. In retrospect it seemed almost frantic, all that busy-ness.  I think about it now and it seems like she was keeping something at bay by never standing still, distracting herself from dealing with her pain.  She didn’t have an easy life.  She rarely spoke of her hardships.  She nearly always spoke positively though, I think she knew the power of her thoughts even when she felt like giving up.

It was just the two of us most of the time, so we spent a lot of time together. As a kid I felt like she was trying to make me into someone I wasn’t, like who I was wasn’t what she expected and I was very rebellious, very defensive.  I had an incredibly negative attitude with her and she seemed an unnerving and annoying vessel of positivity and gooey Light that I didn’t want on me.  There were times when my cynicism and attitude got to her and she would finally snap. It was a powerful thing to behold, shocking even. Then sometimes she would just break down and cry at her sewing table, holding her head in her hands for an hour or more and that was even more humbling. I remember feeling like an ass on many occasions but not knowing how to express my regret and apologize. We didn’t do that.  I didn’t intend to hurt my mom’s feelings, I was just trying to hold my ground to whatever extent I felt she was encroaching on me, but I had no filter for that. I didn’t know where to draw the line.

We never talked about things like that. Negatively perceived emotions weren’t something to be felt or expressed, they were to be ridiculed or outlawed and stuffed, deep down inside behind a locked door and never fed or visited. When an unpleasant emotion escaped into the light, it would wreak havoc on the house, stir things up, run amok through the china closet, and knock us both out of orbit for a while, but then there would be this enormous sense of relief afterward and we would resume life as usual.

I’ve spent a lot of time since her passing remembering the shitty things I said and did to her and the attitude I gave her, understandably feeling terrible about it, like a horrible daughter.  That doesn’t change the fact that I was endlessly irritated by my chipper, happy, singing, beautiful, talented, pushy mom.

In light of recent events, I can see that I was mirroring her shadow for her so she could release the negativity that she was keeping in check, so she could actually feel her feelings. I still feel bad about it sometimes when a particularly shameful memory comes up, but I understand now that in the grand scheme of things we all need someone to trip our triggers. If no one ever does, we never resolve the things within us that need our attention, our presence, our acceptance and forgiveness. It’s so important to cry, to rage, to expel our toxic feelings in a safe way, by ourselves or with someone who loves you enough not to take it personally.

My mother was and is an incredibly strong and courageous soul. She was brave in ways I can’t imagine being. She made many mistakes, which is what I used to focus on (and remind her of, every chance I got), but ultimately her ‘mistakes’ lined me up for a rich experience full of events and people to navigate through and learn from, events and people that have paved the path to create the person I am, and I like who I’ve become.

I have recently come to the realization that I chose that experience – in detail and on purpose – before I came here and that she loves me enough that she willingly fulfilled her leading part in that experience to grow my soul into the amazing tree of knowledge that it now is, and it keeps on growing me. I am grateful for every minute of it. I find myself coaching my friends on how to change their thinking, I catch myself singing the lyrics to the songs she used to sing while she was working, I find myself wanting to paint this quote somewhere prominently displayed in my home, and I find myself building things I’ve only seen in my dreams.

Thank you, Mama.