Every year around Mothers Day, I start to cringe at all the lovely posts made by all my friends. It’s not that I am not happy for them, because I am. I enjoy looking at all the pictures of them as babies and children being loved unconditionally by their beautiful and youthful Moms. My reality is I have no Mother here anymore, and it pains me to remember what I lost. They say there is no pain greater than that of losing a child. I hope to never experience that but can say from first hand experience that it broke down my Grandmother. No loss is ever easy. Losing a Mother is like losing your life line. Every happy moment in your future will always be tainted because she will never be there. For many years I have struggled to find the right way to treat the parts of me that have disappeared along with my Mother.
For some of us we lost her when we were very young, still too young to remember most things about her, but can remember how she made us feel; loved, secure, and cared for. Others may have had the privilege to grow a bit older under her guidance and care, yet we mourn differently because we were so used to having her around. I lost my Mom when I was twelve, at a time when a young girl begins to become a young woman. There were many things I needed to learn on my own, many questions I had about life and my purpose. I am grateful for the survival instincts that kicked in helping me through that very traumatic time, however they come at a cost. Psychology has provided us with our primary model for addressing the painful feelings of incompleteness and disconnect that we experience.
“Trauma disrupts the stress-hormone system. It plays havoc with the entire nervous system, which prevents people from processing and integrating traumatic memories into conscious mental frameworks.Traumatic memories stay “stuck” in the brain’s nether regions–the nonverbal, nonconscious, subcortical regions (amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, hypothalamus and brain stem)–where they are not accessible to the frontal lobes–the understanding, thinking, reasoning parts of the brain.
The paradox at the heart of trauma: they see and feel only their trauma, or they see and feel nothing at all.”
During a traumatic experience our brains are rewired to accept certain stories about ourselves that may not be true, and to suppress feelings too powerful to feel. Our bodies can even hold onto those painful memories and can manifest in our lives in different ways, both physical and emotional. So painful are these experiences that we have to find alternative ways to deal with them by numbing them. Addictions are no stranger to us. We can turn one addiction off and move on to the next one completely unaware. Addictions were always a good friend.
In Shamanism, there is a belief that whenever we experience trauma, a part of our vital essence separates from us in order to survive the experience by escaping the full impact of the pain. This vital essence or soul is lost, or what they would call soul loss or diminishment of spiritual energy. What a shaman is called to do is to retrieve the lost soul parts and consequently restoring the individual to harmony. After many failed attempts at trying “to fix” myself, I began to explore this view deeper and it’s opportunity to help me heal.
My attempts at healing have been: massive alcohol consumption, drug experimentation, dancing wildly under the moonlight, passing lovers, loving animals, loving others, being angry at everything, psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, running, crazy dieting, and simple breathing. My inner dialogue always told me I had to be strong, to be fearful, to be perfect in order to avoid being abandoned again. After many beautiful epiphanies coming via reflections through dear friends, family, and lovers, I decided enough was enough. The time had come to change.
Some of us may never take the steps to fully heal, I hope this blog inspires you to do so. I am not completely healed but will say that I have come a long way.
So this Mother’s Day while all my friends are posting about their love for their Mom’s, I will take the time to show love and appreciation for all the work I have done to grow from my experience with loss. To thank my Mother for giving me this life. When the tears start rolling (which they always do) I will let it, and I will honor the beautiful women she was, and the one she left behind. I won’t hold it in until it hardens me but I will release it so it can make me soft. I had a dream once that I spoke to my Mom and she asked me why I was so sad, as she asked a river of tears fell down my face and it felt as if the weight of the world was crashing on me. I came to this awareness of how much sadness I had been carrying around with me all these years. And then a voice said, NOW wipe your tears… and just like that the pain and sadness went away. So maybe that’s just the trick. Travel back to the parts of ourselves that disintegrated and ask them to come back. Wipe the slate clean.
There are blessings that come from experiencing loss, but first we have to be willing to confront the parts that are still in the shadow. If you are interested in learning more about my healing and shamanic experience contact me.