I Don't Want To Talk About It
My mother was an exceptionally undemonstrative woman. Oh, there was the kiss goodbye and goodnight -- but if Mother truly felt something, she buried it deep.
I resented her tightfisted approach to affection ... and I turned into the kind of woman who touches, who hugs, who kisses, who smiles, who wears her heart on her sleeve. I like that about me.
But there is one emotional arena in which I absolutely understand my mother.
Illness. Death. Grief.
I don't much like discussing my own, or others' ... unless I can make a joke of it.
When there actually is serious illness or death or grief in my life, the last thing I want to do is share it -- open it up for discussion, or invite others to participate. It's too raw, I'm too vulnerable, those feelings are too naked.
There is an instance now where I know of an individual -- at a great distance, to whom I've never spoken, but for whom I feel a great deal of sympathy -- who is approaching her last days. She's very young, has a toddler and she is painfully riddled with cancer.
Among the group of people with whom I communicate -- some dear and close friends -- a couple of individuals have stepped up and breached the distance between themselves and this young woman. They've called, they've visited, they've arranged gifts. And I laud these women. They are acting true to their natures and it speaks well of them.
But I could not bring myself to participate. I even said I would -- but I can't. The young woman is in my mind, in my thoughts -- but I have the strongest feeling this is a time for acquaintances to recede, not to move forward into her life.
The very lack of demonstration that angered me about my mother has surfaced in me. Only because I feel that if I am in extremis, I want to be left alone, I project that onto this young woman. At a certain point, I believe that you want only those who know you truly and deeply to be near you.
So long now after my mother's death, this episode has explained more to me about the distance she encouraged between herself and others.
And it makes me even more grateful -- it is of even more value to me -- that she allowed me to be the only one at her bedside when she died.