As soon as I heard Mom's voice I started to cry. So much for my big plan to chat about Jessica's play dates. I had so much emotion tightly stored in my heart, and it was all set loose by merely hearing her voice. I understood this was not going to be easy, but I also knew our relationship was based in a deep love that would hopefully withstand the turmoil ahead. Mom asked why I was crying, and that's all it took for the words to come pouring forth, words that were steeped in truth. Have you ever sobbed so hard that you couldn't take in a full breath? Yah, that's what happened on and off during the conversation we had that day.
I remember attempting to stay on a focused path of sharing. Do you remember the detective in the old Dragnet TV series? Invariably he would at some point say his signature phrase, "Just stick to the facts ma'am." Well that was my goal, but it was challenging because there were so many feelings intertwined with the facts. I began by explaining in detail the strong sadness that emerged at my first therapy appointment as my one eye tried to explain to the other eye what it was like having vision. It felt a logical place to begin since that was the initial moment I became aware of the true depth of loss I had been carrying around without ever understanding or acknowledging it.
For many years I had been the queen of talking around the truth, so Mom was not accustomed to me taking a direct approach. She was caught off guard by my candid honesty...actually, so was I! Looking back, I think I was willing to step out of my comfort zone because I knew and accepted what was at stake if I had let fear rob me of this chance to be set free from all the years of hiding, ignoring and pretending.
That day was the first of many weeks of open, honest and deeply rich conversations of growth. Mom and I were in the midst of creating a special relationship, giving birth to a new level of love, truth, acceptance and profound respect. Giving birth involves pain, and that is what we both experienced during this time, understanding that when the new life appears the pain is reduced to a gently dulled memory.
There are two memories that stand out from this period of time, hopefully illustrating our journey together. The first occurred during one of our many long distance calls when Dad walked past the phone and commented, "Oh no, not another hour of the two of you paying the phone company to just sit and cry together." The second involved me standing in front of a Hallmark card display, trying to choose a Mother's Day card. Now remember, I was immersed in truth at that point, so I felt compelled to select a card reflecting where Mom and I were at this time. After nearly an hour search I decided to create my own form of tribute to Mom. Yes, the pain was real, but so was the final outcome...a love so strong and a respect so deep that it could withstand whatever the future held.