I was just thinking about my Mum, or rather I was just thinking about how little I’ve been thinking about my Mum.
That probably sounds weird. What I mean is that my mother used to take up such a lot of my head space on a daily basis and it just occurred to me that I barely think about her at all these days. I was about to type “for ages” but then I remembered that when I saw her last, the day before Mother’s Day, I was pretty upset afterwards and wishing things could be repaired so I guess it isn’t actually that long, but on a day-to-day basis, there is definitely less “Mum noise” going on.
It sounds sad. It is sad I suppose, but I feel a bit like I’ve just got used to things being the way they are between us. I feel so used to her not being in my life anymore that I barely give her a thought. I so rarely see or speak to her that it has become normal.
I say this in a positive way in that I am not feeling the utter grief that her absence was causing me. It reminds me a bit of how at the beginning I still really wanted to go and drink with her at weekends, despite everything I had been through with her and despite everything I had learnt in therapy. Eventually the more I didn’t go – the less I thought about it. I guess in a way it is like breaking any kind of habit. You have to do something a certain number of times to make a habit and then you have to NOT do something a certain number of times to break a habit. A bit like quitting smoking perhaps? I appreciate this sounds really weird considering the subject is my mother. I am quitting my mother LOL.
Perhaps this is another example of me blocking things out and being in denial but I like to think (I hope) it is actually just me readjusting to life the way it is now. The way it has been now for several years.
When I get upset about my mother these days it tends to be more out of the total inability to understand how she didn’t have certain feelings towards me when I was young. For example, the things I wrote about in the post I wrote at Easter. After I had spent time cooking a large roast dinner for everyone, decorating the table with little chicks, hiding Easter eggs in the garden and going to play with a frisbee in a field – it hit me that I missed out on so many simple things and it upset and frustrated me because I can’t understand how it isn’t automatically inbuilt in a mother to want to do those simple things. The sad feelings seem to be more things like that now whereas they used to be a lot about the here and now: what she wasn’t doing now.
The invitation to this “family bbq” is still playing on my mind though. Actually it is one of the things I was looking forward to speaking to T about tonight. I’ve had about 11 days to think about it and I still haven’t come to a decision. If I am totally honest with myself I think deep down I know that I shouldn’t go. I think I know that going is potentially setting myself up for a fall. I think that my reason for wanting to go is based on the child’s hope that it will be this perfect family event which I have spent my life wanting but knowing deep down that it won’t be. It will be a heavily drink fuelled excuse for a piss up.
Going without my husband will make me feel nervous and on-edge. Seeing my mother’s husband after his behaviour before and at my wedding is not something that I want to do and I feel I would have to be civil. Whilst I appreciate that I am able to be civil with someone, I just don’t want to have to be civil to him. I don’t want to argue with him either; I would just rather not have to see him at all.
I feel a sense of guilt and obligation about going because it is being hosted at my grandparents’ house. I already know that if it was being held at my mother’s house I wouldn’t go. Perhaps that was a clever tactic, or perhaps it is more about hosting it somewhere it is easier for my Grandad to be now that he struggles to walk.
I think if I am honest, I feel a sense of obligation that if I don’t go, everyone will think badly of me. I feel a sense of guilt that my Grandparents would be upset. I also know that I shouldn’t do anything out of obligation or guilt, but mix this obligation together with the child part of me’s wishful thinking and it makes it very hard to say no to.
I can’t help but feel that going to this bbq would make me complicit in this big fabrication of playing happy families. I feel that it would send out the message that people can treat each other terribly and hurt each other irreparably and yet we can sweep it all under the rug without any conversation or attempt to repair anything and pose for family photographs where everyone is smiling happily. Despite knowing this, seeing the photographs plastered all over social media still have the ability to make me feel jealous. It’s all very confusing. I imagine T would say that the adult me doesn’t want to go but the child part of me (the ever-hopeful child) wants to go in the hope that something will be magically repaired.
I recently asked my father’s opinion on this (him and my mother have been divorced for 28 years and they hate each other) and he said he thought I should suck it up for my grandparents’ sake. He asked “how would you feel if you didn’t go and your grandad died a few weeks later?”.
Naturally I answered to say that I would feel guilty. He then added that I would then attend his funeral and his wake where all the same people would be and then I would have missed the opportunity to see them all under good and happy circumstances.
The thing is though, this is the same person who makes me feel terrible for not attending things he wants me to come to, so I’m not sure how much of this to take to heart. Though what he said has been playing on my mind.
A month or so ago there was an event to celebrate my aunt getting the all-clear after having cancer and I was not invited. I thought to myself that whilst not being invited hurt a bit, I knew I would have said no if I had of received an invite. The only real difference about this bbq is that my nan and grandad are being thrown in the mix (and like I said above, it is at their house). Funnily enough these are similar feelings to the ones I had about my wedding when I hadn’t invited my mother or her husband.
Despite all of the confusion above, I don’t really have any thoughts about seeing my mother there, other than to know she would like it if I went (obviously it makes her look better doesn’t it having both her daughters there). But I don’t feel a pressing need/want to see her or dread it either.
I’m a bit tempted to plan a camping trip with my stepchildren and go away for the few days over this Bank Holiday weekend so that I am occupied and having fun with safe people. But I worry I will end up being away and then feeling really sad and left out and then be stuck miles away and feeling resentful.
I was just about to finish there when it crossed my mind that as my pattern during therapy breaks seems to be that I detach when I know there is going to be a break.. perhaps that is what I do with my mother to. When I last saw her I was desperately sad to “fix everything” and now I am writing about how unattached and unaffected by her I am. I probably know that if I go I am likely to feel the full effect of all those feelings again and I don’t want that and yet it explains the complete confusion about whether or not go to if I am suppressing the horribly painful feelings that I feel after seeing her of wishing things were better.