Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Musings

I never liked Mother's Day. As a child, no matter what I did for my mother, she was never happy. Now I know that nothing any of us can do can make another person happy, but when you're a kid, you have certain expectations about parents: 1) They love you no matter what; 2) they're on your side no matter what; 3) no matter what you do (make a piece of art, buy a present) they'll let you know they appreciate you and what you've done for them; 4) they gently guide you when you're conflicted or stuck or whatever.

My childhood gave me none of these experiences. So I dreaded Mother's Day from a very young age.
Those of you who have read my memoir know what happened when I got married for the first time. It was a dreadful relationship. The one blessing which resulted from it was my son, but I lost custody when he was 4. Mother's Day became the worst day of the year for me.

My son is grown now and we have a wonderful, close relationship. But some wounds never heal--you just learn to live with them. When hubby's mom was alive, Mother's Day was a gift to her and no matter what we got her or where we took her, she appreciated it and let us know it. This was the first Mother's Day without her. To cope, I chose to ignore the day. It worked.

Even though it wasn't my fault that I lost custody. Even though I know I can't go back and change what happened. Even though I know I did the best I could at the time with the limited skills and knowledge I had. Even though my son is a happy, well-adjusted man, content with himself and his life. Even though I am at peace with who I am and content with my own life, Mother's Day is one big fat reminder of what I consider to be my biggest failure. And I am still making peace with that inside my soul, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

Is there something inside you that is hard? How do you live with it so it hurts less and less?



Tabitha Bird said...

I told my dad that I can no longer have a relationship with him. Even though I know it is the right decision for me, it is hard.
Ignoring things has it place. I am all for it at times. :) Hugs to you. :)

Mason Canyon said...

Some how as it live with the hurt, it lessens some each day. There are days when it seems to return a little more, but those days are few and very far in between. Keep focusing on the good things.

Thoughts in Progress

MissV said...

I think the only thing you can do is face it head on and it will eventually lose its power over you.

It was hard for me to read this. My heart goes out to you as a little girl! I cannot imagine life with a mother like yours. Here is a much-belated ((((HUG))))

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

It's only natural that Mother's Day would be a painful day for you. It's hard to have reminders of unhappy things.

I think I probably tend to ignore anything that's painful and quickly distract myself. Is that a healthy approach? Well....probably not! But it can work, at least temporarily.

Karen Walker said...

Tabitha, that is a very courageous thing to do. Why is it that so many of the things that feel "right" are so damned hard? Hugs to you.
Mason, thanks for reminding me to focus on the good things. That helped me yesterday - bunches.
Thanks, Miss V. for the virtual hugs.
Elizabeth, thanks for validating my feelings. Sometimes I question myself, thinking it's not "normal" to feel what I'm feeling. Your saying "it's only natural..." helped a lot.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, Mother's Day isn't a big day for me and I won't go into all the reasons.
How do I deal with past unpleasant experiences? I forgive myself, I keep myself occupied so my mind doesn't have time to return to those moments, and I focus on others.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, yes, I did all those things yesterday, and it helped. Thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

There used to be lots of things but now I just have to tell myself I don't have a time machine in my garage. I can't go back and make them better. Wrap them up in a pretty box with a shiny ribbon. But fortunately I'm a forward thinking person and I just don't dwell on the past.

Stephen Tremp

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh Karen, thank you for sharing a piece of your past in this post. I'm always aware of Mother's Day being hard for some women--especially those experiencing infertility. But I hadn't thought of how hard it must be in other situations. Thank you for making me more aware.

Ann said...

Often we are too hard on ourselves. Knowing and feeling. Delighted you have found peace and happiness.

Karen Walker said...

Stephen, you are fortunate if your past doesn't come up and bite you in the you-know-what every once in awhile. I'm not so lucky. But I don't dwell there. I'm just aware in the moment that this too shall pass.
Jody, you are so welcome. Yes, Mother's Day is hard for many - I have friends who did not have children - some by choice, some because they couldn't. For me now, it's a very mixed blessing.
Ann, I'm working on it - not being so hard on myself, that is. Thanks.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Kind of different with me. I had great parents, and when Dad died ten years ago it crushed me ... we were so close, he was a compassionate and wise man and all the way until I was fifty years old I could go to him for his guidance and wisdom. I miss him greatly ... after all these years I still get melancholy when I think about not being able to visit or call him ... sigh.

The Old Silly

Joanne said...

I think that some things just become a part of who we are. We almost can't just let them go, or get past them, because of the impact and emotion involved. So maybe just knowing that we're shaped by all these experiences and don't necessarily move past them, but find positivity, or contentment in life, in spite of them is a way to handle them.

Susan R. Mills said...

The past is the past. You can't change it. The only thing you can do is what is right now. Thinking of you.

Patricia Stoltey said...

As several others said, the past is gone. I can't change it, so I put it away. When unpleasant things creep back into my thoughts, as they inevitably do, I give them an hour or so and then put them away again.

Helen Ginger said...

If I could hug you, I would. So, I'm sending a virtual hug. I've just found it best to forgive and forget. That way I can move on. My younger sister can't seem to do that. And she's still angry.

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

This is a side of Mother’s Day I never thought about. I can’t imagine a parent who doesn’t glow even with the tackiest homemade gift from their child. How sad that you had to grow up without this unconditional love. I also can’t imagine how hard Mother’s Day must have been when you were unable to be with your young child. My heart goes out to you.

Karen Walker said...

Marvin, you are a very lucky man to have had such a wise, loving parent.
JOanne, yes, that's what I've found - a way to live with and manage the feelings so they don't interfere with my inner peace and happiness. This is just the hardest day for me to do it.
Susan, yes, focusing on the here and now helps a great deal. Thanks so much.
Thanks, Patricia.
Helen, caught the hug. Thanks bunches. That's sad about your sister. It doesn't do us any good at all to carry around anger from the past. It's such a waste of energy.

Anonymous said...