Dear Michelle... I was happy to hear from you. I wonder if mine was the only response to your woman seeking mother ad? I hate to hear of your longing. It's such a chronic condition when we allow ourselves to think about it.
You must have missed a great deal. I think nurturing can occur all through life and when we give it, it can grow within us. One important lesson is to learn to nurture one's self, be kind to yourself in attitude and in deeds. As you know, therapy can help, at least in part in releasing so much grief. In my own case, I was not told that my mother was going to die and when she did die, there was a funeral and burial and life went on. All the grief was pushed down and left unattended. That was the engine that propelled my life and set up a trajectory of low level depression. Therapy on and off over the years, learning to grow in marriage and receive love and then the blessings of children (giving and receiving love) bring me to where I am today. I am interested in your pain and want you to know that today is a new day. Remember that in your heart, you have all of the seeds of love and affection and support that your mother placed there when you were an infant. Do you ever go into the garden and talk to her? I think somewhere in the universe there is a connection for us to feel. Sometimes in the books you are reading. I've just read Amy Bloom's new bookAway and am impressed with her skill. I'll try to send a note in a few days.
Though I had initially feared no response to my ad, once I had replies, I found myself checking my seeking mother account frequently throughout the day. Each time that I clicked on the box and saw zero, I found myself increasingly disappointed. Flora was not my only responder and while having just one person kind and bold enough to even look into the source of the ad would have been more than enough for me a week earlier, I began to think of that Police song Message in a Bottle and wanted not just a few mothers but one hundred thousand mothers looking for a daughter to answer my mother SOS.
Flora's letter came to me as a pleasant suprise. I hadn't expected to hear from her as she wrote that she'd be out of town for a few weeks and away from her computer. Her notification immediately left me suspect that this was her way out of continuing our correspondence. I believed that she had written to satisfy her interest and then to try to offer comfort but that she now wanted a graceful exit. Perhaps the thought that she was my only responder weighed on her and before she could end our exchange, she needed to be assured that there was someone else to pick up the cause.
I had already grown to like flora and would miss her if this was the beginning of the end. Her letters lulled me with their motherly tone. I read this one several times aloud to myself and tried to imagine the two of us sitting together and talking as I considered how I might reply.
How little of a relationship I had with my mother was not only difficult to convey but also left me looking like more of a mother orphan than flora seemed to suspect. Was I given seeds of love, affection and support from my mother's hands? From these seeds could I cultivate a relationship with her in my mind? If I sat in my garden and began a dialogue with my mother, would I be able to conjure her voice? And if I did, what would my mother want to communicate?
Without even knowing any of the particulars, I envied Flora's relationship with her mother. Clearly she missed specific things about her mother--she knew what she had lost--and her mother had given her a foundation in what it feels like to be a daughter loved by a mother. As much as I wanted to write to her immediately and tell her how much I loved the garden references and was inspired to hear how she has soothed some of that ache in her own life, and that I could eagerly read letters from her all day, I decided to wait to see if she would write again or if this trip was our farewell.