a mother-daughter relationship

Karma seems to be speeding up for my mother, or perhaps it is  our karma together that  is escalating.  Even when I accept that karma allows the soul to evolve toward perfection and can help one lead a better and nobler life, it is very difficult to understand and accept my mother’s reaction to the last stage of her life.

The Siddhas tell us that the first cause of karma is due to the infinite multiplicity of the One External Existence of God-that One without a second. Due to this multiplicity we are ignorant of our ultimate and eternal unity. Because we each have a separate physical consciousness, division is created.  The mind, limited by its identification with the body creates a strong sense of separateness. The ego secures this sense of separateness.  This understanding gives me solace.

My mother lost her husband, my father, early this year.   She and Ben were married for 70 years and their life together was her reason for living or purpose.   Since he died of pancreatic cancer, she says life is without meaning and she is without any means of happiness.   She tells me, “I will never be happy again? It is impossible, I have lost Ben?”    I tell her that she has me and my brother and her grandchildren who all love her.   But this is no solace for her.   Her husband is gone and so is her happiness.

“Happiness is easy to experience, Momma,” I say, “even if your loneliness persists.  Of course you are grieving Dad’s passing, but I can’t understand why you say you have no happiness left and will never be happy again. You have so much for which to be grateful.  Your years now can be spent fully in gratitude and reflection of all the blessings you have received throughout this life.  You had 70 years of wedded bliss.  How many people can say that? I have lost my beloved father, but I am so very grateful that Dad lived to reach his 91st birthday.   Do you know that only 2% of all Americans live to be 90 years old?  And even now at 92, you have financial security and children who you speak to daily and friends who visit you regularly and church, and bridge and  social clubs.”

“You just don’t understand, she decried, you can’t understand, nobody can! All the beauty has gone out of my life!”

Circumstances do not make us, they reveal us.  My mother has revealed her inner state of irreparable despair.  Dad had really been her center and source of happiness.   So now, her center is gone?

I suppose we all believe on some level that the true goal of life is to be happy.   And many of us believe to be happy we must be with someone who makes us happy.  However, if we remain caught in the laws of the ordinary mind can we ever really be happy?  My mother has still not discovered that happiness and beauty is our natural state of being.   Mom taught me so many things growing up, but she never taught me how to be happy.   She thought that happiness comes with pleasant external conditions.   She says I am happy because I have a husband and children.   I have tried to explain instead, that happiness, which radiates from my personality, comes from the greater consciousness of my soul.  Just as does her happiness.

I was just speaking with my mother this afternoon and also speaking with a lovely woman about my age who went to see my mother today with the most beautiful gift of cheer and remembrance.   Renae brought my mother a large crystal ornament.   She had filled it with golden beads and with my mother had placed a folded note with my father’s name on it, with his date of birth and their wedding date.  Renae had placed the ornament on a pedestal and surrounded it with golden painted pine cones and ribbons.   She had taken immense effort in preparing this ornament as not only a Christmas decoration but as a puja, a special remembrance for my Mother during this particularly painful season.   Renae invited my mother to speak about my father and their romance and marriage and they had cried and laughed together.  Renae had called me afterward to tell me how special this had been for her.   I spoke to my mother today too.   She only mentioned that Renae had brought her cheese enchiladas for dinner!

Mother still has a sharp intellect.   She loves to read.   I send her spiritual books that I thought she would enjoy.  I have sent her music and magazines with uplifting stories.  I sent her the things I have written and she says she reads everything.   She  won’t listen to the music, or even books on tape. I don’t know why.   We rarely discuss anything that might require her to consider or question her view of the world.

I thought my mother would find some peace and solace in a new perspective since my father died,  but I realize that she is not really seeking peace or happiness.   Instead she is seeking to feed her pain and suffering and her only consolation seems to be indignant political righteousness.   She tells me that the only thing she looks forward to each day is hearing the truth from FoxNews, which confirms all her suspicions.   She is 91 years old and the only thing that momentarily eradicates her pain is  her staid political opinions.   She feeds her vital body daily with self absorption and anger.  She says she cannot talk to me because I do not accept her socio-political beliefs and she can’t stand to listen to anything I have to say on the matter.  Anger always gets in the way of understanding.

I realize that I am still trying to change her.   I would love for us to have that amazing mother-daughter bond–that intimate bond like no other.   I have never had a relationship with her like I have with my own children.   But she is still here, so I will persevere.  You never know.

    • Dione
    • December 14th, 2009

    Dear Durga,
    I have been had a similar problem with a friend. I love her since we were very young (she is like a sister) and each day I realize that we are more far from each other. And, in the last days it’s like she felt herself in danger with options in my life. It’s like I had said that her life was a sand castle (castle in the air) as the mine (her interpretation, I think). I have said to her that we have to look for inside us, and she answered that I was critizing her happy life….and she said with so much anger. It was painfull, but I’m letting all this go, remembering the las weekly Babaji’s message: “You will deal with each other in terms of equality and not as a superior or subordinate, teacher or pupil, preceptor or follower. No disputation, personification or idolization. Each one catch one, i.e. let each one train himself or herself up.”
    But it’s very difficult to know the frontiers between what I can do and what I can not… This is my point just now.
    Thanks, Durga
    With love (sorry English)

  1. Good Morning Durga,

    This is very touching. It is perhaps a sign of the times in which we live that so many cling to anger as an analgesic for pain while others feel anger itself is pain.

    Often I have thought of the tradition that many religions have/had of requiring seekers to leave their birth families in order to pursue monkhood, priesthood, nunhood and I would look at that tradition with yearning as it certainly would make the path easier. I believe that many of us have had that experience in prior incarnations and are meant to know this time around that the results of taking the journey while living in the midst of family challenges brings us to a truth that is clear and strong.

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