Unmasking My Emotions
Friday, October 28, 2016
I've been contemplating how, what and where to share. A week and a half ago my mom died. I knew the call would eventually come and I doubt if anyone is 100% ready, unless their loved one had a lengthy illness or a serious accident.
My brother treated everything as a business transaction . I felt his emotions yet he did his best to hide them.
I officiated the graveside service. Over the years, I've mastered the "acting mode" when officiating funerals to help me stay in control of my emotions.
I never grieved the loss of my stepdad at age 16. I was actually relieved and the only memory of his funeral was my best friend and I laughed through the entire service and I'm fairly certain my brother didn't show.
I never grieved the loss of my biological dad who passed 19 years ago, but then again, I didn't really know him, nor did I learn of his death until 2-3 years ago.
Now, when it comes to my mom...she had mental illness caused, I thought due to a nervous breakdown at age 17. I've recently learned of other contributors to her state of mind, as well as being a victim of domestic abuse.
I admit to a vast roller coaster of emotions concerning her years of hospitalization /institutionalization and general feelings of abandonment. In fact, the past 36 years she's been in one facility or another.
In 2009, I was awakened to the fact that my mom was a victim and not the cause behind my confusion. She couldn't help it and in fact, she had built a cocoon of safety to where she couldn't be hurt again.
Of course within her cocoon, she could no longer make music. A beautiful musician who kept her music locked inside. Rare glimpses of my mom, few words, unable to communicate by phone and 15 hour drives that could produce a five minute visit or on one wonderful visit, 2 hours of clarity...learning her favorite food of pizza, enjoying smiles, laughter, answers until she would retreat again.
I felt like I lost my mom years ago, yet every couple of years when I could make the drive, it was the hope of just one more day of clarity that would make the trip worth it. Most trips were disappointing, except the initial look of recognition.
The final trip was made too late. My nontravel year. The call came in her final stages of life. I'm relieved that my mom's mind and body have been set free and the music can be unlocked.
I will miss going to "see" mom. I still haven't been able to grieve that she's gone. There have been no tears. Maybe I've worn the mask for too many years?