A week ago my Aunt Tillie died. She was 93. As I sat reflecting on Aunt Tillie, and the times I spent with her, I found my reflections also included all the other women in my life who have made their transition from this life. They include my mother and daughter along with grandmothers and aunts. I found myself feeling profound gratitude and love for all of them. They all contributed to my life and helped to shape me into the woman I am today.
One of the things I was called to do was to write my mother’s story, from her point of view. This is something I have done before, and have gained tremendous insight into the woman who gave me life. As I wrote my mother’s story I came to a better understanding of our lives together. I saw how the way she lived her life gave me permission to live my life the way I do, the way I am living it now. I had the profound sense that she could not leave this life (she died in 1993) until she knew I was strong enough to be the woman I was meant to be in this life, including the experience of losing Leah when I did. That event was still far off in the future when she died, and yet, from where I am today, I could not have navigated it as I did without the gift of my mother’s love.
It was something I was not able to see at the time. Some 20 years later all of the pieces fall into place. I see how all of my ancestors, my mother, grandmothers, aunts and Leah have supported me in my own journey. It took me to a full understanding of my mother’s love for me, something that was not possible when she was alive. I bow to the women in my lineage, who made me who I am today. I am feeling very vulnerable after this experience but it has put me deeper in touch with the part of me that walks with others on their grief journeys. I understand more fully that it is my work to do even though sometimes I wonder “why me?” Why can’t I be doing fun stuff like others are doing? I see how that is a story that can keep me from doing this work. As I return to my heart, my journey, and my passion for changing the conversation around grief, I find myself once again at the edge of the unknown. I step fully into it, with love and gratitude for all those who have brought me to this place.
If you would like to investigate your own mother’s life in this way, here are some guidelines.
Write your mother’s life story from her perspective.
Forget what you think you know about her.
See it through her eyes and heart, feel it through her body.
You can write in this way about any member of your family, whether they are living or not as a way to gain understanding and insight about them, you, and your relationship together. If something arises that is uncomfortable, you can sit with the feelings in your heart. For a refresher on how to do that, click here.
This is from the work of Sheila Foster
You can peruse her website for more insightful information.