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About Mother's Day

~Photo Credit~
It was May and Mother's Day was fast approaching, sales promotions were everywhere.  Zara walked through the store trying not to think about it, but the many gift displays made that next to impossible.  This was a hard time of year for Zara, there were too many unresolved issues from her past.

It was no secret that Zara's relationship with her mother hadn't been the best.  While she was still alive, Zara had struggled to find a Mother's Day card for her that sounded sincere, but wasn't mushy sweet and sentimental.  Now that her mom had been gone for several years, it made Zara even sadder to walk past the card aisle and realize there was no reason to buy one.

Zara and her mother had clashed all the way thru Zara's adolescence, despite the fact that Zara had behaved far better than most of her friends and classmates.  They problem was that she was different... she thought different, she dressed different, and said things that weren't quite in sync with main-stream thinking.  As middle-class members of  the small town they lived in it was important to fit in, and Zara's mother didn't quite know how to deal with a child who often stood out.  It didn't matter that she got good grades and stayed out of trouble, people talked, and that was an embarrassment to them. 

"Why can't you act like your sisters," Zara's parents often asked her, and when she tried to explain that she was just being true to herself they couldn't comprehend what she was saying.  When Zara tried to share things that were important to her with her mother, the response would inevitably be anger or derision, or just being totally ignored.  For Zara being ignored was even worse that her mother being angry, to be ignored meant you that had no value at all.  Over time she learned to keep everything that meant anything to her at buried deep inside and she built a thick wall around her.
 
Zara left home one night the summer after high school and didn't return, derailing the plan for her to begin college.  She joined a religious cult and moved into a commune.  She got married at nineteen to someone her parents didn't approve of, and a year and a half later became a mother herself.  Then came a divorce and another marriage, and a second baby, and though Zara's life became more routine, working at an office by day and taking on the tasks of homemaker and mother by night, the hurt that had divided her and her mother never fully healed. 
 
Zara's life path led her a thousand miles from home, and she saw her parents only rarely, they didn't understand that she needed that much space to avoid their interference and feeling judged.  She kept the details of her life from them - it was better, it felt safer - even if it felt lonely never being a part of family gatherings on holidays.  They had no idea how hard her life really was.
 
Eventually the children grew up and went off on their own.  By then Zara had divorced for the second time, and was planning to marry for the third.  Her choice of a partner was totally opposite of what her parents would deem appropriate although he made her happy.  Shortly before the wedding she received a long letter from her mother detailing every bad choice and mistake Zara had ever made in her life, and warning her that this marriage was yet going to be another.  It was the final straw for Zara.  She tore the letter into tiny pieces and drowned it in tears... and she stopped talking to her mother except for the bare minimum of conversation required.

A year later as her mother lay dying in the hospital a thousand miles away they shared a brief telephone conversation. There were no tender words of apology or forgiveness, no acknowledgement that this was their last chance to make things right.  Just a few words before the phone was passed back to Zara's father.  Zara realized too late that she never got to say goodbye.  She flew home to attend the funeral, mourning not so much what had been lost as what had never been.

More than a decade later as another Mother's Day approaches Zara feels the same heartache all over again, missing the sweet memories of childhood, yet saddened by the relationship that never reached the point of understanding.  She wishes that her mother was still living so that she could go and tell her that at long last she understood more about what came between them, and although their view of life was very different, they also shared many things that were the same. She realized there were physical and emotional issues her mother had to deal with that didn't register with her as a child. 
 
Zara remembered how much her mother liked to write - just as she does, and she thought about how much her mother would have loved blogging and sharing texts and photos by phone.  She noted that people often mentioned how kind her mother was, and it gave her a new perspective.  She understood that being a mother is the hardest job in the world, but the love for your child is immeasurable, even if you don't always fully understand.  Eventually she came to realize that that final letter pointing out her mistakes had been her Mother's somewhat misguided attempt at pleading with her not to choose an unhappy future, which was ultimately what it turned out to be.

On impulse, Zara chose a Mother's Day card from the store rack, took it home and began to write her heart out, saying all the things that she'd never gotten to say.  She sealed it and took it to the cemetery, and buried it near her mother's headstone, then placed a bouquet of Spring flowers over the freshly smoothed dirt.  Just as she finished, a red cardinal swooped across the bouquet of flowers and landed briefly on the headstone, cocking it's eye as Zara as if it knew her.  Zara smiled at the brightly colored visitor, and saw it as a sign that maybe her mother understood now too.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
here at my blog
 
and for Wednesday Wit and Wisdom 
Tomorrowlady
Drop by and share one of your stories with us!

16 comments:

  1. Jose, love the flowers in your picture, so colorful, and thanks for also joining in for WWW! Great story for the photo.

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    1. I almost always have a story in mind, then find a photo and use it to wrap my words around, Linda Kay, this one suited the story that I wanted to tell perfectly. I'm excited to finally have something worthwhile to share with you at Wednesday Wit and Wisdom!

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  2. Sadly, that's the story for so many people, even if the exact details are different. One moves on before they can come to an understanding and better relationship.

    You capture it well.

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    1. I think you are right, Mimi. We don't really view our parents are individuals outside of their role in our lives when we are young, we don't see that they have their own joys and burdens too. I am far more forgiving as I've grown older, and God has humbled me in many ways by giving me some of the same lessons my mother had to cope with.

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  3. This was certainly emotive Josie. For all that it is important that we should make mistakes in life as they are the best lessons. Mothers can be very critical...(I know!), but it is that they don't speak the same language as their children. How much more important it is to let your children make their own choices but never your love fail whatever they do.

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    1. You have said it perfectly here, Old Egg .. mothers don't speak the same language as their children, and because of this communication sometimes breaks down. With my own children my rule has always been that I will give them my honest opinion if asked for, and sometimes even if not asked for, but I will always, always support them in making the choices they believe to be best for their lives, as it is their life to live, not mine, and they must learn their own lessons too! Sometimes mothers can be so very wrong about things, and sometimes we later discover they were right about others!

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  4. Wow. Finding that common ground with someone who will always see you as her baby...a child...not easy for so many of us. This was all of that ...beautiful writing

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    1. Thank you Ivy, this one came from the heart. It is something I have struggled long and hard with, but now in my old age am finally beginning to see the picture more clearly, and forgiveness comes at last.

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  5. This story is poignantly beautiful.
    Writing my heart out, as Zara did, can bring about healing and a sort of reconciliation (even if it may be unilateral...)

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    1. I agree Romi, there are many facets of my life that I have come to terms with by writing out the stories and sharing them. It brings peace and closure.

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  6. There's so much power in writing. I think it very fitting that she found relief in it and buried her card at her mother's gravesite.

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    1. I've found writing to be the very best form of therapy, Sarah. We can work out so many of the puzzle pieces of our lives and fit the story together in better perspective. Sometimes we need to say the things that never got said, I don't believe it's ever to late to share what's in our hearts. Love is eternal and messages can travel between the spirit world and ours.

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  7. Just like what Mimi and Old Egg said. Nice story ;o)

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  8. This story makes me sad - sad for the missed opportunities between mother and daughter, for that special bond. I remember my mother whom I often had "fights" with, but we always were honest to each other and we deeply loved each other. I am grateful that I could say farewell to her when she passed away (she lived in Germany, I in the US), but I still miss her after all these years. I don't know how I would have felt if big misunderstanding or grunges were left.
    Beautifully written, and I am glad that Zara finally could make her peace by writing this letter. It is powerful.

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    1. I agree with you Carola, it is sad that we become so entrenched in our roles that we sometimes don't see the far more important big picture, sometimes hurt gets in our way. As it is with most things, time heals, and age brings a bit of wisdom. Peace comes in the end.

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