I’ve been trying to write this post for days but stumbling over the words, just like I did whilst trying to voice them in therapy on Monday. We’re taking a break from SRA work to focus on grief, particularly grief over my mother’s death. She died in May of 2004 with the beauty of Spring all around her and the memory of a recent holiday we took together in her mind. If one is to believe the suicide note she left behind, she felt very alone and like she’d never have a place in my life. This confuses me greatly, as I always made sure she had a place in my life. As I moved forward, I would point out how she and I could move forward together. She would be there. I took that thought for granted.
My therapist described my mother as an island– no matter how much she was told she belonged, she would never truly believe or accept that. She could not make those connections completely. Still, my mind returns time and again to that silly little question we all ask: ‘why.’
Why wasn’t I good enough for her as a child or as an adult? Why couldn’t she trust that I’d always keep a place for her in my life? Why did she feel so alone in spite of the people around who loved her? And why did she feel like living was too big a risk to carry on?
Those are the questions I asked my therapist, and the look in her eyes showed that she felt every bit as helpless as I did. She said I was searching for a mother I never had but always wanted. As stereotypically Freudian as that sounds, it’s true. I think. It’s not something I can quite accept yet. We’re going to keep working through this until I’ve reached a point of relative peace. The therapist says she wants to help me find a sense of closure, to let go of the dark memories of my mother that keep a hold on me still and to keep the positive memories we’ll highlight along the way.
This type of therapy is terrifying to me. It’s a different kind of fear from the SRA bit. It’s more personal somehow. Set any other girl in my situation and my family lineage, and she would have gone through the same SRA treatment I did. The same can’t be said for what happened with my mother. The emotions are so intense, and I am not good with that. In fact, holding back the emotions caused me physical pain, but I still could not let go. Knowing that we will have future sessions like this, I apologised to the therapist for the possibility of breaking down in her office. She said she felt like I was supposed to break down at those moments and pointed out that I had wrapped my arms around myself quite tightly in what she referred to as holding things together physically. That frightened me, but the therapist calmly told me she wasn’t going to unfold my emotions just yet.
As I was leaving, the therapist actually hugged me. She is amazing, and I am so very lucky to have her helping me learn to let go of the loss and trauma, whilst keeping the good memories of my childhood alive.
This is repressed grief in a fine form, folks. If you have had a recent loss, start your grieving and learning to cope now. Putting it off leads to a very ugly situation that can overshadow your life in many, many ways.