Mind so blown my hair looks like I’m in a boy band

Yesterday a friend said something that struck me as amazing:  “I was surprised to find my relationship with my mother didn’t end when she died.  In fact, it continued to grow for years after. Actually, our relationship is much better now than when she was alive.”

This is not something I had ever considered.  In fact, it kind of goes against my basic assumptions about the Rules of Everything:  Death is the end, and at least you have closure, right?

And of course, her statement taps into some fears I have about what will happen to me if my mom dies while I’m still angry with her.

How strange it is to have someone say something that tilts my world view, letting all these new possibilities spill out!  And how goosebumpy to hear it as something she only mentioned in passing, as she was talking to someone else, not knowing anything about what’s going on with me.

Anyone else had the experience my friend was talking about?  If so, would you mind telling me about it?  Thanks!

7 Replies to “Mind so blown my hair looks like I’m in a boy band”

  1. Anne, things go on. My mother and I wrangled about our differing goals all through my 30s — its a long story, but I had all of the opportunities that she didn’t, and I feel guilty that I wasted what she should have had. We did grow closer, but there was a lot that was never resolved. She died (in my arms) in 2007 after a stroke at 87. My brother commented some years ago, “Oh, I talk to Mommie every night in my dreams.” Even though I was the good daughter and he was the wayward son and caused my parents a lot of grief, they were closer. My mother and I continue to wrangle in my dreams almost every night. She’s often very angry at me about choices I’ve made and things I’ve done. I’m never sure from morning to morning whether we rehashed the same thing or made progress. I’ll comment more offline.

  2. I’m not at all sure this is what that person means, or what you mean, so I apologise if this is entirely wrong.

    My mother died in 2007 too (hi there, Jan!!). I certainly have closure on some things. Her being incredibly brave and incredibly nice and incredibly giving, for the most part (because everyone’s human, not because she sucks) in her last 6 months was a big help.

    I continue now and then to think about some things she did, when I was a kid, when I was older. And I do continue to rehash some of those things and see them a bit differently now. Like I was 15 when my mother was the age I am now (42). So I can remember what it was like a lot better than when she was the age I was when she died.

    I’m sure I’m giving her a pass on some things because I’m misremembering now. I’m sure I’m more angry/upset about some things because I’m misremembering now, too. But some of it is genuine and is a perspective change. Is about understanding a bit more what it’s like to be in one’s 40s (and 50s aren’t that far away, and she died when she was only 60). I do understand some things a lot better and am more inclined to be forgiving towards her, but then again there are some other things that make me think oh fuck well at least in all my failings I’ve never done THAT to my kids.

  3. My mom is still alive and kicking, so I cant really help on that level. But I do believe there can be interaction between those living and those that have gone on. Don’t know if that helps.

    So. Is pretty goofy, but I volunteer every year at a writing conference for teens, and one of the authors I introduced this year for their break out class was Leigh Statham, of Wattpad fame. She was funny and fun and I kept thinking about you… probably because she uses a pseudonym for publishing. In my head you are actually a fairly well known author, and I’m really half convinced one year you’ll be teaching at the conference, and when we figure out who we are, we’ll just laugh and laugh!

    Yep. I live a very rich interior life. Sensible is for sissies.

  4. Oh no – this rabbit hole?!? Yeah, familiar ground leading to Nowhere Land – like falling down the rabbit hole, landing in yet another pit of sticky mud. Here’s a favorite bit that reminds me of all the attachments that don’t serve in any way: “…Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins that maybe buy you just a moment of pleasure but then drag you for days like a broken man behind a farting camel …” (Hafiz).

    My mom, at 91, still has the power to slice and dice with unbelievable skill. Likely because she holds on tight to all the cuts in her own life. It’s a miserable inheritance. I’m the only sibling in close proximity to my parents (the others have scattered afar) and she has “issues” with all of us but can’t afford to indulge them with me too often because of need and proximity and yet … oy vey. I have no idea how to cut the psychological cord except to step back and dwell in compassion for all of us. Breathe, release … breathe, release. It finally occurred to me that one way to loosen her grip was to pretend that she is my best friend’s mother and only then can I find distance and, yes, compassion – for myself. xoxoxoxo

  5. Addendum: I have no idea what it’s like to lose a mother but have good friends who lost their moms – I have no idea how it will be when the very real but unthinkable happens. Very sad for sure, and no doubt a big a game-changer … will I have to fully grow up and face my own life??

  6. Jan, big hugs your way. Your comment makes me think about how people are so unnerved by ghost stories, and the idea we can be haunted by a relationship that doesn’t change because it’s based on memories. Thank you for telling me what’s happened in your experience.


    Dear Meg!

    Thank you for this. I struggle with honoring what an exceptional person my mother is/was in many respects, while not white washing the bad stuff. It’s hard to reconcile both pieces, and to feel fair (as in, me not turning into a screaming revenge harpy vs. falling into the old pattern of denying my own experience to make sure my mom stays up on that pedestal) and it gives me hope that your comment seems to reflect a balance.


    bon, OK, now I totally want this to happen!!


    Dear Susan,

    “My mom, at 91, still has the power to slice and dice with unbelievable skill. Likely because she holds on tight to all the cuts in her own life.” <– wow, that's a great insight. And omigosh, the farting camel! So wise and yet so perfectly tailored to my developmental level!! LOL, thank you!

  7. So, I have had this open in my browser for weeks now trying to imagine this in my own life. Of course, my mother is still living, so when it comes to her, it is different. …I have been renegotiating some aspects of my relationships with my brother and sister since they passed. All those pesky adult sibling issues that we didn’t get to talking about before they were gone. This is especially true when it comes to me helping with their children. I am not just “aunt” any longer, often I am “not parent.” Sometimes I feel like I am stepping on their toes…except, they are dead, so, I have to renegotiate. Not sure if this counts as to what you were talking about … but it is what struck me when I read this.

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