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What Mothers Do

“Deneen, why didn’t you call me?  I heard about your friend that died and I’m sorry.”  My mother is on the other end of my phone, talking to me about the suicide of my lover.  Denise’s death happened weeks ago, and I’ve only now gotten the courage to talk to my mother about it.  “I know what it’s like,” she says, “to go through a death that is violent and so close to you.  You know that, of all people, I know what that’s like.  The nightmares stay with you forever.  I still have them, you know, ever once in a great while.  I still see the blood.  It’s awful!  Sometimes, a period of time goes by that I don’t think about it, then something will trigger it, and it just plays over and over in my mind.  You’ll probably have that happen, too.  People just don’t know what it’s like.  People don’t understand how hard it is.”

The conversation opens up like this, in such a trusting manner, my mother vulnerable and sharing her own pain about the difficult deaths she’s had to bear.  I start to share mine, telling her more about the suicide of my lover.  I tell her how it happened, the horror of it, the good that I’ve managed to glean from it.  “God sent me visions,” I say, “to help me get through it.  The night she died, even before I had confirmation from anyone that she was actually dead, I saw Denise’s spirit wandering about.  It was dark, shaped like a person and outlined by a red-orange, glowing light.  She was walking in a field of black.  Then, I saw the separation point of this world from the next.  It was a white, brilliant line laid out against what would be the floor of the darkness.  On the other side of it stood a glowing figure, also in the shape of a person, but it was shining white and totally filled in with the glowing!  Somehow, I knew that this was the spirit of her father.  She approached the energy line and he was there.  He put out his hand and took hers, helping her step across.

“Later that same morning, God sent me another vision. I saw Denise’s soul meet Uncle Albert’s soul, and they were talking together.  I felt that they were talking about me, and this great sense of peace came over me, entering at the top of my head.  It went all the way through my body.”

“Now, DENEEN!” my mother hrrumphs.  “You know better than that!  There’s no way you could have seen that because you know she went to Hell and your Uncle Albert is in Heaven!”

I get that familiar, sinking feeling in the depth of my soul and immediately want to die.  I begin to Dissociate and fight to keep myself present, forward-facing and engaged in the conversation.

“Mama?” I squeak weakly into the receiver.

“At least, I think he is.  I wanna’ believe he is.  I don’t think God would have sent him to Hell….”  She is still talking, but I now have “tunnel hearing” and everything is far away and I can’t make sense of her words anymore.

“Mama?” I interject again.  She’s still talking.  She hasn’t heard me.

“Mama?” I’m louder this time and my awareness is traveling back through the tunnel, returning to a more settled position into my physical self.  “Do you think that you can ever learn to just listen?”  She’s still talking

At last, realizing that I’ve said something, she pauses.


“Do you think that you could ever learn to just listen?”

“What?” She sounds confused.

“Mama, sometimes, I don’t need you to tell me things, or explain them to me.  Sometimes, I just need you to listen.  Do you think you could ever learn to do that?”

A pause manifests that’s undoubtedly the longest one that I’ve ever experienced in conversation with my mother.

“Well,” she drawls out at last.  “I guess so.”  She’s actually pondering it.  “I THINK I could do that.”

“Sometimes, Mama, that’s all I need for you to do.”

“Deneen, you do know that I love you, don’t you?  You are so precious to me and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.  I still remember when I had [gave birth to] you.  You were my first born, and I will always love you!  I love you with all of my heart.”

“I love you too, Mama.”  Tears are starting.  My head is spinning with a confused mix of joy and caution.  My mother has never expressed this kind of love to me, and this coming out of her on the heels of a quasi-argument centered around religion is even more surprising.

“Deneen,” she adds breathlessly, excitedly, “I know you think I don’t claim you, but I do.  When I’m talking to people about my other kids, I include you right along in there with them.  I name all four of you!”

“Wow!” I think.  “How am I supposed to respond to THAT?”


I bounce back and forth from this understanding of why my mother is who she is, to this feeling of longing that every little girl must have in just wanting her mother’s arms wrapped around her, loving her, and telling her that everything is going to be okay.

As a little girl, the thought never occured to me that my mother would one day all-but disappear from my life.  Not until I was sixteen and pregnant, frightened and lonely, married and moved out, did I realize that I wasn’t really a part of “that” family any more.  When I left my mother’s house, it was as if I had moved to another planet.  I guess I’d had dreams about how things would be once I was on my own.  I’d dreamed of frequent visits, talking every day, my inclusion in all holiday celebrations.  Things didn’t really work out that way.

“I love you, Deneen, but I don’t like your ways.”

My mother may “love” me, but she hasn’t “liked” me in a very long time.  That attitude of hers seems to have begun with the divorce.  When she didn’t have a husband to argue with, it’s my belief that she had to put someone else in that behavioral “slot”.  Unbeknownst to me, my mother and father had argued a LOT while I was growing up.  Either they hid all of that from us kids, or I had another personality come in and listen to the arguing.  I have no memory of the arguing.

Hmm….someone inside of me says that there was a lot of arguing in front of me and that I got scared and blanked out.  Seems reasonable.  Both of my parents can be scary when they are angry.  Of course, to any short, newly born person, any big, loud adults are intimidating.  Some part of me glimpses arguments in cars while driving down the road with the family.  I can only access the beginning of loud voices, my eyes widening with fear and my body tensing, then – nothing.

I’ve been in therapy most of my adult life.  I’ve gone through a number of differing professionals.  These therapists have all had their own, unique views regarding what is wrong with me and what I should do, or not do, about it.  My diagnosis have run the gambit – from bipolar, to clinical depression, to borderline.  My therapists have argued with my psychiatrists, my psychiatrists have argued with me….  Everyone has had their own opinion about what is wrong with me, and everyone has had their own idea about how to fix it.  In spite of these differences of opinion regarding my particular illness, there has been one point on which all of the mental health professionals have agreed:  My mother is bad for me.

I want to say that again:  My mother is bad for me.

The reality of that causes me such deep pain.  Of all the pills I’ve been asked to ingest throughout this journey toward mental and emotional wholeness, that has been the hardest one to swallow.

I love my mother.

I want to say that again:  I love my mother.

One’s love for one’s mother is a special thing; a unique thing; an inborn-instinct kind of a thing.

It was explained to me during a recent conversation, “The reason your Mama doesn’t like you is because of what you’ve put your kids through.  The way that you’ve allowed your kids to be hurt and all that they have gone through because of bad decisions you made.”

Okay.  Point taken.  I have made some very bad decisions.  I have made some horrendous decisions – some of which have had terrible, life-altering consequences for my children.  But – I’ve lived long enough and heard enough people’s stories to know that I am not unique in that.

One of my therapists did give me some pretty terrific advice which still helps me to this day.  I told her about all my great regrets regarding the life that I had given to my children.  I shared with her my internal anger over what I had allowed to happen to myself, and them, my frustration in how I was repeatedly reeled in and mired in the quicksand of abusive relationships.

“Did you know,” she asked me, “that these people were going to be abusive to you or your children before you began relationships with them?”

“Well, no,” I admitted.  “At the time, they seemed like good choices.  I thought I was being very careful and choosing well.”

“That’s right.  You made the right decisions based on the information that you had at the time.  How can you hold yourself responsible for information that you didn’t have?  If you had known what was going to happen, you would have chosen differently.”

About my mother she said, “I don’t think you should have any contact with her.  She is toxic to you.  Whenever you think of calling your mother, I want you to envision the skull and crossbones on a bottle of poison.  Now, if you pick up that bottle of poison and drink it, you are willing participating in the destruction of yourself.  This is the mental image that I want you to keep in regards to contact with your mother.  Whenever you feel weak and you think you want to talk to her, I want you to bring up that image of a skull and crossbones, and remember what you are really doing to yourself.”

You see, more often than not, conversations with my mother have made me want to die.  Even though that is the case, I still love my mother, I still want her in my life, and I choose to bear the pain of the negative things in our relationship so that I can glean the positive ones when they are present.

At one time, I was the only one interested in maintaining our relationship.  Lamenting how things were with my mother when I was a young mother myself, I asked my therapist (a different person from the one above), “How do I have a good relationship with my mother?”  I was crying.  “I just want us to be able to get along, and I want her to be in my life and I want her to love me!”

“Deneen,” he said gently, “it takes two people to make a relationship.  She has to be willing to meet you part way.  You can’t do it all yourself.  It’s simply not possible.”

As she’s gotten older, since the decline and death of her own mother, my mother tries much harder to keep things amicable with myself and my siblings.  She strives not to hurt  feelings, and she has gained a lot more skill in learning when to open up, and when to be quiet.  She doesn’t get it right every time, but none of us do that.

It’s never been her intent to make me want to die.  She doesn’t, I’m sure, sit down and say to herself, “When Deneen comes to visit, I’ll see what I can say that will make her wish she was never born.”  When I was a teenager still living at home, she once said to me that if she’d known in advance how miserable I would be in my life, she’d have never wanted me to be born.  By this, she meant, I think, that I was such an unhappy person that it would have been more merciful to me if I’d never existed at all.  In my battle with depression and with suicidal thoughts, I’ve often agreed with this sentiment.  I’ve now moved past that sort of thing to a greater and more healthy understanding of the act of suffering.  This isn’t to say that I don’t slip back, sometimes, into thoughts of wanting to die.

When I think about my father, I become suicidal about things that he does, events and hurts that have happened at his hand, but I rarely become suicidal about things that he says, or his opinion regarding me.  He is a sick and twisted individual who has hurt a lot of people, but he isn’t very verbose, and he can’t put together words in any sort of effective way.

My mother is a different story.  This gift of writing that I have?  It flows to me through the genes of my mother.  My mother is a great writer.  My mother is intelligent.  My mother is expressive.  My mother can wrap words around any old thing to make it beautiful – or to tear it down, destroy it, point out its flaws and devastate it.

I guess I should give her props for being honest and sharing with me what she truly feels.  I just wish that what she felt about me was different.

Once, I asked my adult daughters, “How do you think you would feel if you had a mother who didn’t like you and didn’t want to have anything to do with you?  How do you think you would deal with it if I felt about you the way that my mother feels about me?”  My daughters looked at me blankly.  The youngest said, “I can’t even imagine it.  You’ve never been like that so I don’t have any idea.”

I’ve always wanted and loved my children.  I can’t remember ever not liking any of them.  Sure, I’ve been angry with them at times.  Certainly, they’ve all made decisions with which I have disagreed, but I feel that my children are a gift to me.  We’re only lent them for a little while.

The first memory I have of holding an infant is when I was ten years old, and that is the day that I fell in love!  I fell in love with children!  I feel this deep and abiding love for those tiny, pure creatures so full of life and laughter!  My entire internal being cried out that I wanted one of those one day.  It was a deeper feeling than a simple, biological urge.  To this day, I am certain that the God part of myself KNEW that I was supposed to have children.  That I was supposed to pass on my genetics and the temperment of my spirit.  I didn’t know to what end, but I was certain that there was something that needed to happen in the world, and that it somehow needed to manifest through me, and through my descendants.

Today, when I look at my children and how wonderful they are in spite of all of their difficulties, when I see their intelligence and their openness of heart and of mind, when I see how they live their lives and how they handle themselves while traversing this path we call “living”, I am so very, very proud of them!  The Universe has gifted me with such wonderful, strong, marvelous children!

When I look at my my granddaughters, I imagine what their lives might bring to this world, and what the lives of their children and their children’s children might bring.  This, for me, is not just a question of biology.  Every one of us is capable of giving birth and bringing things forth into this world.  We do it with our ideas, we do it with our careers, we do it with our friends and with our colleagues and with our families.  We don’t have to have children in order for our influences to manifest in fantastic ways upon our world.  Some of us are built for tasks other than procreation.  It is important that each of us find the things that we are called to do, and that we do those things to the best of our abilities.  One of my callings was to bear my children, and I have done it with the best of all that is in me.

Years ago, I asked my children how they felt about what they experienced growing up.  I got different responses.  My son, who is the youngest, said that he doesn’t think about the things that happened to him when he was little.  He said that he doesn’t believe it affects him at all; that it has no bearing on his life, today.  I have always disagreed with his assertions, because I’m living proof that abuses and trauma can get buried deep within us and take on lives of their own (in my case, literally).  More recently, my son has admitted that he thinks some of his behavior IS greatly influenced by events from our past.  It’s good that he’s seeing those links now, because it bodes well for his ability to one day purge those negative influences from his psyche.

My eldest child, a daughter who is now a parent herself, was very mellow and easy going about things.  She said that she was certain that I had done my best, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for her past.  At the same time, she stated that she felt that she had brought a lot of the problems upon herself.  No matter how much I tried to convince her otherwise, she continued taking on responsibilty for things for which she is not responsible, and still does, today.  She is that much like myself!  This worries me for her sake.

The youngest was, and still is, very angry with me.  Most of her anger rests in the fact that she can’t tell me about her pain and have me hear it.  Having a dissociative disorder makes this rather hard for me to accomplish.  When my awareness comes full-on, face-to-face with the agonies that my offspring have experienced due to bad decisions that I’ve made for them, I crumble.  My dissociation kicks in and I want to die.  I can’t honor my children’s pain by sitting with it, listening to it, feeling it with them and getting past it.  Sometimes, The Screamer, my primal, reactive self, tries to manifest.  Sometimes, Shaky Girl, the state of being who takes control and shakes my physical body in order to release pent up trauma, knocks at the door of my awareness.  Other times, Skeleton Man shows up and opens a doorway for a “shell person” to animate and react the body (but I’m not truly listening; not the aware “me”) until he can get it to a safe place and put it to sleep and keep me from harming myself.  I have to fight to stay present in any meaningful way.  So far, I’ve not succeeded.

When I react to a thing with the kind of pain that is too intense for me to bear, I can feel the mental cogs of my mind start to turn.  It’s as if a big “machine” wakes up.  I can see the mouths of the people before me moving, and I know that the sounds that they make are forming words, but there are protectors inside of me who roll forward into my mind and snatch up the meanings of the words and then roll back into my inner being with them, removing them from my consciousness.  Even this, I punish myself for.  What type of mother can’t sit, listen to, remember, and honor her child’s pain?  I have a responsibility to do this, and working toward that goal is one of my most important.  I will be able to do it one day.  All people deserve the right to express to another how they feel about what has been done to them.  Not with hate and blaming, but as a measure of their self-worth.

With all of these personality switches and disabling reactions that I have, I find it miraculous that I was even able to take care of my children and provide financial support for them.  I sought therapy, read books, tried medicines, talked to friends, searched diligently for ways to help me deal with how “crazy” I sometimes got.  The first time that I ever admitted myself to a hospital due to my mental illness was after my children were all adults living on their own.  This was only after all of my tools and self-talk weren’t working anymore to keep me from wanting to die.  I was aware, by this time, of the fact that I had other people living through me and helping me; that I wasn’t one stable entity.  I don’t know where all of my protectors were, or if the people inside of me who wanted to die had overruled or incapacitated them, but I do know that I had two choices.  I could head toward drugs that would kill me, or toward a hospital that might keep me safe.

I’ve done enough research, survived enough suicidal desires to know that life will always improve if I can just keep my body alive long enough to get to the future.  Since I couldn’t trust myself to keep myself alive, I chose the hospital.  It was the right decision.  The hospital was nothing like I’d imagined, and not at all like the horror movies depicted.  It was full of caring people who wanted to help me.  It was full of other broken people with whom I could relate.  Truly, it was a safe place and I am quite grateful for it.

During the time that I was hospitalized, I did not speak to my mother.  I hadn’t spoken to my mother in a long time.  We had nodded politely and said, “Hello,” when finding ourselves both in attendance at a couple of family functions, but that had been the extent of things.

Our communication had stopped shortly after I’d moved to North Carolina, leaving the rest of my family in Georgia.  My mother and I had maintained contact via telephone for a few months.  Throughout previous years, I’d worked hard at establishing a good and healthy relationship with her.  To be fair, I think she’d worked hard at this, too, being careful with her wording and our topics of conversation.  We’d somehow established unspoken boundaries and both labored to adhere to them.  After my having only been out of the state for a few months, I received phone calls from both of my daughters.  Both of them were very hurt, and they were hurt by events that had happened regarding their grandmother – my mother.  Having my mother cause ME pain was something to which I had grown accustomed, and something about which I have never confronted her.  Having her hurt my children was another matter.  I felt that a conversation was warranted.  I called and attempted to have that conversation.

My heart was beating fast and my palms were sweaty as I picked up the phone.  I was in a full-blown panic attack before I dialed her number, but I forced myself through it.  I can’t recall how I began the conversation, but I eased into it, telling her that I wanted to talk to her about something.  “Mama, I am two states away,” I said, “and it is still getting back to me about things that you have done that have hurt my girls’ feelings and…”  That’s all I got out.  We didn’t get to have the rest of the conversation because my mother started screaming in my ear.  The me who is writing to you now doesn’t remember what she said because the words were taken away from me.  She continued screaming at me for a little while, and then she slammed the phone down.

I was devastated!  All of those years of careful re-construction, of having gotten along together, had flown away with one act.  I redialed her number.  She picked up and I could hear her speaking loudly to someone else in the room, and then she hung up again.  Sobbing uncontrollably, I dialed her again.  She picked up and hung up again.  The next time that I called, the phone was busy, and it remained so, as I frantically dialed my mother’s number over and over again.

I had just broken one of my mother’s cardinal rules.  I had asked her to talk about a problem.  My mother doesn’t talk about problems.  She doesn’t talk about deep issues.  This, and other factors used to lead me to believe that my mother was a cold person.  It was easy for me to come to the conclusion that, “My mother has no real feelings”.  What I have come to believe more recently, though, is that the opposite is true.  My mother is more like me than I used to ever imagine.  It isn’t that my mother doesn’t feel.  It’s that my mother feels too much.  When she is overwhelmed, she also dissociates in the same manner that I do.  I go into another personality state.  She cuts off conversation and contact.  It’s the same response but manifesting in different ways.

I’m not sure what the emotional state of being is that was manifesting itself during the crisis that arose in me over the telephone call, but it’s a state that I readily recognize as having taken me over whenever I’m emotionally overwhelmed with feelings of despair and helplessness.  I felt that I would die if she didn’t talk to me, if we didn’t fix this!  I felt compelled that I HAD to know that she loved me!  That she cared about me!  That she wanted me in her life!

Hysterical, with no friends available and desperately needing an ear, I called my mother’s minister.  When I was younger, he had been my minister as well.  His wife answered and called him to the phone.  Once I heard his voice, I ranted and raved and cried and hyperventilated, spilling all of what had happened out to him.  He was very calm, and very comforting.  He did help me a great deal to get a hold on myself and stop the crying.

In the end, he said, “I don’t know why your mother acts the way that she does and does the things that she does sometimes.  I just know that she’s going through a lot right now.  Your mother has had a very hard life.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “she has.”  I thanked him, and we hung up, my having returned to one of my calmer states of being.  After that conversation, I sat, meditating on all that had just happened, trying to figure out what it meant for my future with my mother.  I didn’t see how I could forgive her for hurting my children and for not even being willing to listen to what it was that she had done, for not feeling sorry for hurting them.

“What about us?”  Pondering the minister’s words, I thought, “What about ME?  I’ve had a hard life, too!  What about my children?!”

My children were very good about not letting my mother’s actions get the best of them.  They had lots of practice in wrong-doing by watching my reactions!  When they were young, it was common for me to have at least two hours of straight, suicidal crying before I could get myself calmed down after a conversation with my mother.  There were times that Skeleton Man would come in and send my body to my bed.

My children once told me that when they were little kids visiting with my mother and my siblings, terrible things were said about me to them as a matter of course.  My being aware of how this made me feel, and how it made my children feel, I try to be mindful of what I say to other people about their parents.  It’s a lesson for which I’m grateful.

I once asked my kids how they felt about my mother, how they felt about her disapproval of me.  One daughter replied, “I know that Nanny says she loves me, but that is because she doesn’t really know me.  If she knew the real me, she wouldn’t like me at all because I am a lot like you, and she doesn’t like you.”

It’s this same daughter who placed a telephone call to me the time that I’d admitted myself into the hospital.  She asked me all of the polite questions regarding how I was doing, and then she paused.  I could feel the panic in her.  “I have a message for you,” she said at last, “and I’m not sure how you are going to feel about it.”

“What?” I asked, my mind racing in circles trying to fathom what sort of message might be producing this sort of stress reaction in her.

“Nanny wants me to tell you that she knows that you and her don’t get along, and that it would be hard for both of you and that you would both have to try really hard, but that she would if you would.  She said that if you don’t have anywhere to go when you get out of here, you can come and stay at her house as long as you need to.”

The phone went silent on both ends as my daughter waited to see what I would have to say.

This was the woman who had always expressed to me that she would NEVER live with me again because I was “impossible to live with”, who’d said to my teenage self, “This family would all be good and have peace and get along fine together if you just weren’t in it!”  This was the woman who had called especially to tell me that I could not come and live with her (though I hadn’t asked to) after I’d announced that I was taking my two babies and leaving my first husband.  This was the woman who had refused to let me come to her home when I was being released from the hospital and ordered to stay on bed rest when I was in danger of miscarrying her grandson (I paid a friend to look after my two young daughters and myself until I was allowed back on my feet).  This was the woman who had ordered me out of and away from her house time and time and time again.

Slowly returning from a shocked silence, the phone’s receiver gripped tightly in my hand, I spoke: “I have no response to that.”

“What do you want me to tell her?”

“I guess tell her that.  ‘Mama said she had no response to that’.”

“Okay,” my daughter said, nervously giggling a bit, hesitating.  “Well, I guess I’m going to hang up now.  I love you Mama.  Call me if you need anything.”

“Okay, Honey, I will.”

Gently placing the receiver back on the phone in the dayroom of the hospital, I lay my head against the wall, closed my eyes against the bright lights – and cried for a long, long time.

I don’t know what I was crying for.  I guess it was a mixture of things.  It was the painful awareness of my mother’s journey, my mother’s pain all mixed in with the pain of myself, with the pain of my own children.

Do I forgive my mother for her part in any of my pain?  There’s nothing to forgive.  She has loved me and treated me, continues to treat me, as well as she is able.  I am quite positive that she has given me all of any kind of love and acceptance that she is capable of.  I don’t blame my mother.  She has been more open with me than her mother was with her, and so on, back through the generations.  My grandchildren will do even better with their children, and my great-grand-children, well, perhaps they will one day rule a peaceful world!  Our only task as parents of people, ideas, or inventions, is to try and correct any mistakes that we can so that all of humanity can become more enlightened and balanced as our species moves forward.  Overall, I think humanity is doing a pretty good job.  I see a lot of people who step up against injustice, sometimes at a massive, personal cost.

Life is just hard.  That’s why it’s so important that we all stick together, holding one another up instead of blaming one another and tearing one another down.

Somehow, no matter how difficult it is, we have to get to that place of love, even when we can’t yet get to a place of peace with one another.

I’m still traveling toward that end, and my mother, she is with me, even though she may not know it, even when she is kicking and screaming against it.  If we can but remember the love, forgive the mistakes, process the hurts – peace will come.

I have to believe that, even if I’m dragged kicking and screaming to an unpeaceful end.  I’ll still always, stubbornly, believe that.

Posted in My Inheritance.

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6 Responses

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  1. Mike Bernier says

    This is a very powerful and, I’m sure, a gut-wrenching posting for you to write. It churned up emotions inside me as well, and my first instinct after I finished was to reach out and give you a hug and let you cry all you wanted on my shoulder. I know this was as difficult a posting for you to write as it will be for some people to read it, and I am very proud of you, my friend, for having the courage and the strength to work through it and bring this story into the light of day for all to see. It will help many of us to better understand all the influences in your life, both past and present, and how those have affected not only you but those who are so very close and dear to you — your children.

    It has been said that writing is a form of healing for many people. I hope this posting, and other difficult ones that I’m sure lie ahead for you, will help you in your healing process and lead you toward becoming an even stronger person than you certainly are today.

  2. Yvonne says

    I know how difficult it is for you, Deneen, to find a balance that will be healing for you but not alienate those you love; a balance between telling your story truthfully and airing dirty family laundry. Let me say, however, you are accomplishing that balance in an exceptionally gifted way. I am sorry for the pain that still resides within you. At the same time, that pain has given birth to some creative and captivating writing. I guess a rose/thorn analogy is apropos. Kudos for believing in yourself enough to share a God given talent in spite of the pain.

  3. Deneen Ansley says

    Mike – This was hard to write, but I’m glad that I did it and that I got through it. There is something healing about writing all of this out. It somehow purges it from my psyche a bit (though none of it will ever be totally GONE). It also helps with my integration because it gives all of the people inside of me an opportunity to collaborate on something.

    I appreciate the thought of a shoulder, and in reality, shoulders to cry on are of great comfort, but rarely actually offered once in full-personness. All of us, myself included, tend to become uncomfortable when others are in pain, and it’s very hard to just sit with people and let them process and feel what they are feeling. It’s something that we could all use some practice in.

  4. Deneen Ansley says

    Yvonne – Thanks, Mama One! You’re emotional support and friendship has been pivotal in getting me to this place, whether or not you know that. The fact that you believe in me makes it easier to believe in myself, and I appreciate you so much for that.

    Even though things with my own mother have been rocky, that very fact has left me more open to accept other Mothers into my life, and God has provided me an abundance of mothers, plus given me the gift of the eventual better understanding of my birth one. That doesn’t make the pain go away, but if I can convince myself that it was for a purpose, it lends my life the feel of a journey versus a situation of neglect.

    I’m quite sure that this writing will eventually lead almost ALL of my family to not speak to me. My family of origin, I mean. My task, though, is to follow what the God-in-me would have me do and that is to WRITE, to TELL, with as much of the REAL truth as I am able to see, and through as much of the pain as I can stand.

    Thanks, Mama One, for being here to bear it with me! I love you.

  5. charlene says

    Deneen honey, i cried for you all the way through this story. am still crying for you, as a matter of fact. tears of empathy from this piece of you so amazingly told. i was just in awe as i read, at how expressive your writing is. i don’t know if it is because i know you so well that i am completely and totally drawn in, but drawn in and enthralled i was by every word you wrote here. i’m glad we were able to talk about this story and share our similar experiences. i couldn’t begin to write all of what your story shared here means to me. you are truly blessed with an amazing gift that those of us who come to read are being blessed with in turn.

    hugging you in my heart…as i wished so badly i could give you a real one while reading of your pain. love you, honey.

  6. Deneen Ansley says

    Charlene – I’m so glad that I can use my gift in ways that help me to reach out to others. I am very lucky to have you in my life, and to have a sister who can so well understand my pain. You know the effect that your presence has on me, how I feel so young and full of joy whenever I am around you! You are a gift to me!

    Thank you for sharing this journey with me – and I look forward to learning more about your own. I believe that, one day, you will write it!

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