My mom has cancer. Leukemia, to be specific. She is 81. I struggle with what to write... but I want to write something. I am at a loss for words... which if you know me, is new for me. I am flying down to visit her next week. One thing that has come of this is we are more connected than we were. I talk to her more often in real and intimate ways.
The obligatory 'call your mother' stuff is gone from my brain. I'm lucky. Even with all the dysfunction in my family history, I can still say that if my mother were not my mother, and I met her on the street, I would dig her. I would hang out with her. She's cool. I also remember her that way as a child. The good memories are of her full belly laughs, her high pitched cackles, her open-minded thinking, and her passionate, creative energy.
These positive qualities are just a few of the ways I am gifted by knowing her. Can I tell you some shitty stories? Sure. Do I have any f**ked up memories? Yeah. And, I am exceedingly grateful to add that I have a multitude of memories that bring a smile to my face, many that make me laugh out loud, and she has a great many positive character traits that I have been impacted by.
When my dad died, I spoke at his memorial service. I said out loud that my dad was not a great husband to my mother, and not a great dad in many ways. Yes, I said it. Out loud... at a podium on a stage up in front of family and friends. And I said, " And I loved him anyway. My father wasn't a saint. I didn't need him to be". That last sentence was really important for me. Still is.
There was a man, probably my father's only true friend, who spoke about him being a 'good christian', blah, blah, blah. Which was total words-you-say-at-an-american-funeral bullshit. My dad was not churchy and did not use 'christian speak', go to church even. Was he moral? Yes. That's how he would have described himself. He liked that word, moral. But his friend did not speak about the man I knew.
I have many good memories of both my parents. My father was sweet and loving to me. I know to the core of my being that he loved me with his whole heart. My mother too. Neither one of them were perfect and as far as parenting skills go, there was a lot to be desired. But what's gratefully true for me today is that I don't need them to be anything more than the humans they are/were. I can love them wholly and completely. What freedom there is in this truth! What joy and peace it gives me. I am feeling much gratitude for that today.