Today marks what would have been my mother's 60th birthday. Unfortunately, she died at the young age of 44 from something that couldn't have been predicted or prevented--a cerebral aneurysm.
Since this blog is about food & body, I just thought I'd focus on that part of the emotions I feel today. My mom had her issues and battles with food: she grew up as a chubby child; lost some of it in college; gained while being medicated for panic attacks; went up and down with children; and then towards the end of her life seemed to be content with a diet of coffee, cigarettes, and dinner.
She projected her weight and body issues on to me. When I was a baby, she didn't even try to nurse me (apparently she didn't have much success/comfort with breasfteeding my older brother and became paranoid about that). When I was in the fourth grade, I needed to be fitted for a bra. She wouldn't let me get a cute pink bra with a bow in the middle. I was allowed to pick out a sports bra that flattened my chest only. She vocally resented the shape of my legs and hips.
The food she did make for my brother and I wasn't always the best, vastly underrepresented fresh fruits and vegetables, and bordered on the torture of meat products (her porkchops often turned out grey).
But for as sad as all these memories are, I just focus on the few good ones. When my father was getting ready to sell the house, he pulled back the kitchen curtains and found white, crusty food attached to them. I knew exactly what it was -- before my mom had died, we had little bit of a fake-potato food fight. I remember making tomato sauce with her (from the garden to the pot). I looked forward to each holiday season where we'd bake hundreds of cookies--just her and I.
Ultimately what I'm left with is a profound compassion for my mother. I wish I could go back in time and share with her what I've learned about how to be gentle, forgiving, and understanding with myself and my own shortcomings. I wonder what her life would have been like if she had been at peace with her body, not resigned to an outcome.
Always look on the bright side of life...
in Family - on 10:59:00 AM - 4 comments
just randomly found your blog, my mom was 44 when she died too, almost 10 years ago. I agree with all you said. My mom was so resigned to an outcome as well :(Reply
My mom died back in 1994--so I'm coming up on 16 years without her. It's so weird once you pass the moment where you've lived more of your life without your parent than with your parent.Reply
It makes you wonder if you are who you are because of them or in spite of them.
Annnnnyways... thanks for leaving a comment and I look forward to hearing from you!
I "got" an extra 10 years with mine as she passed at 54 in 2003. She suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities), Post Traumatic Stress (mostly from the abuse inflicted on her by my father -- her therapist said that the D.I.D is the only thing that "saved" her as an alternate personality would often step up and take it so "she" wouldn't have to) and was severely morbidly obese. She was just getting to the point where everything was on an upswing mentally and emotionally when the physical gave up on her like she had given up on it so many years prior. She's the reason I started this whole journey and the reason I'm determined to see it through -- so my son will never have to worry that the same thing will happen to me.Reply
As a child with a sick parent, I think you spend most of your life fearing becoming them, even if that's a remote chance.Reply
It's good that you're doing the work now so your son won't have the same fears. Kudos you!
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