The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents and my childhood. I woke up the other morning realizing that it was my mothers birthday. My mom passed several years ago. She would have been 87.
Our relationship was one of the more difficult mother daughter relationships, I think. We struggled with not being close, with trying to understand each other and with having some kind of common ground but we never really seemed to get there. I felt unprotected By her. I was angry.
I didn’t even know how angry I was with her until my dad passed a couple of years before her. They say one of the stages of grief is anger and mine was all directed at her.
When I learned of her cancer diagnosis, I hadn’t had much of a relationship with her for many years. I had to go through a process of accepting what was and what had been. Then, forgiving what was and what had been. Then, forgiving her and letting go of a lot of things that I’ve been holding onto.
Near the end she asked me if I had anything that I needed to say to her. She assured me that I could say whatever I needed to. I thought about it. I thought about telling her how angry I had been with her, but I think she knew that. My reply was honest when I said “No Mom, there’s nothing that’s left unsaid. Everything has been worked through. We’re good.” Because by that time, we were.
I appreciated her giving me that opportunity to say what I needed to. I felt like that was the most mature conversation we’d ever had in our lives together and I’m glad that we had it.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about trauma and how it exists in our body. I recently took a mini workshop on trauma informed yoga. It was understanding that pretty much all of us have some type of trauma and there are different levels of trauma. It was a bit of information on how that shows up for people. Being aware of it in order to not exacerbate that in a yoga class.
All of this combined has made me think a lot about my own traumas and how they show up in my body. It’s not something new for me. I’ve been aware of it for a long time. It seems like a couple of times a year it comes around to revisit me and demand my attention. My mom’s birthday is one of those times.
My parents have both been gone a number of years as I mentioned. I think of them often. I see them in myself, in my siblings, and in my kids. But they are not in the forefront of my mind daily. I don’t mark their birthdays on the calendar and I don’t consciously think ahead of time that their birthday is coming up. So sometimes my first reminder is when these thought patterns and these memories and emotions start to surface. That’s when I remember, it’s mom’s birthday.
When those reminders come up they can be in different forms. They can be those thought patterns that I mentioned, thinking about my childhood and things that were happening in that time. They can be physical like a stiff neck and shoulder or low back pain. They might be trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep at night.
It’s usually something physical. But it can be something emotional. Maybe I’m feeling stressed out or like everything is on me and I don’t have any help. I might be crabby with my husband and not even really understand why because he hasn’t done anything wrong. I’m just feeling like I’m not getting something that I need
That goes back to feelings of lack when I was a child. Feelings of being the invisible child. The one that nobody cared about. The one who had no one, which isn’t totally true by the way. I had people in my life, but when you don’t feel like you have the love and support of your parents it can skew your perception of everything.
Can you notice where your issues are? Can you observe what’s coming up for you and how it affects you? When your issues come up, can you be loving, kind and compassionate with yourself?
If you’d like to know more, get in touch. I can offer gentle practices that may help you recognize and work through the physical discomfort of what may be showing up for you.
Also, check out our October offer on Yin and Release on Sundays at Restored Strength in Marshall.