Monday, December 3, 2018

My angry mother loved the stars when she was alive / The sun is but a morning star

The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us.  Only that day dawns to which we are awake.  There is more day to dawn.  The sun is but a morning star.
(Henry David Thoreau)

Today 24 years have passed since my mother's sudden and unexpected death from a massive heart attack when she was 78 years old.  When I woke up and walked out to my porch to look into the darkness in hopes of seeing stars, I looked out on a thick fog.  I don't mind when I wake up to fog because it tends to lift after dawn and precede an extraordinarily beautiful clear day.  Of course I thought of robin andrea when I saw that there were crepuscular rays above the morning star as the fog lifted.

Early in the last year of her life, my mother said with great weariness, "I am so tired of being angry."

My relationship with my mother was difficult, more so in the last years of her life.  My angry mother loved books, stars, art, writing, knitting, cooking, cheesecake, pistachios nuts, Chocolate Kisses, Mogen David wine, horses, lambs, sailing, Groucho Marx, Danny Kaye, Judaism, birds, watching figure skating, the sound of bagpipes, living by the ocean, stained glass, documentaries, Joan Baez (only after Joan became a mother), Carl Jung, and Bob Dylan's song "Ring Them Bells."

Today I am sharing an early morning photo and "Ring Them Bells" in honor of my no-longer-angry mother who loved stars, among other things.  This version by Mary Black and Joan Baez was recorded in the year after my mother died.  I think she would have liked this version.  I sense that my mother's anger and rage died with her.  It was only after my mother died that I was able to consciously experience my own anger and rage.  Mine must be a different kind of anger and rage because I am not exhausted by it.  Its power can be channeled in non-destructive directions.  Perhaps my mother was exhausted from feeling guilty for feeling angry.  I will never know.


My life so far said...

It was my father who was always angry. It's how he protected himself, although I doubt he ever understood that. I was an angry young women but have mellowed considerably with age thank goodness.

am said...

Thank you for your thoughts about your angry father, lily cedar. I can see now that my mother, too, protected herself with her anger

ellen abbott said...

I did not have a good relationship with my mother. hardly any at all. she wasn't angry so much as a complainer. and she was very self centered. some kind of karma I guess that the child she had the worst relationship with and who cared the least for her was the one that was left to deal with her in her old age, at least until I managed to ship her up to my brother who she thought the sun rose and set on.

am said...

Your story of your mother, ellen abbott, has parallels with my story regarding my father. In the last year and a half of his life, I was physically and emotionally unable to continue dealing with him alone, despite the fact that he was in an independent living apartment. In desperation, asked my youngest sister (his favorite) and my brother-in-law to take over. He moved 90 miles away to live in an assisted living apartment near them until he died. My last visit with him on his birthday a month before he died was a good one. Something of a truce. It has since occurred to me that my father had Asperger's. For most of my life I was bewildered and hurt by the way he treated me. As with my mother, I sense that his Asperger's died with him, leaving someone I could feel loved by.

37paddington said...

I have heard that anger is sorrow turned inside out. I think it's true, that sometimes we are angry because it puts some steel in our back, whereas sorrow might make us wilt. Anger, sorrow, both can be channeled in productive ways, and how wise you are to know that. I always loved Joan Baez. Love to to you.

Sabine said...

I enjoyed that song, it was recorded from a live tv show in Ireland honouring Mary Black. Mary Black is top notch in Ireland.

Oh, our mothers, these angry women.

Some of my mother's anger was - apart from her lonely childhood and the war - due to the fact that without a fight, without argument, she was expected to stay at home and be a mother and a wife, watching my father climb what easily should have been her career ladder. That was the time. She was incredibly lonely and bored, despised all the entertainment provided by coffee mornings and school runs, waiting for anything anything anything to take her away from it all.

am said...

Thank you for relaying that insight, Rosemarie. I witnessed a few unforgettable moments in my mother's life where her unbearable sorrow was made visible. It is occurring to me now that her anger matched her sorrow. Had she taken the path of living out an equal sorrow instead, I doubt that she would have had the energy to live as long as she did. As I write, I am also recalling the moments when I can picture her experiencing joy. She was able to experience joy in so many ways that I forget when I only remember her anger. I wish there could have been more joy in her life. But what do I know? Maybe her joy was greater than her anger or sorrow. Maybe it was joy that gave her what energy she had

am said...

Sabine, that part of your mother's anger has much the same character as my mother's anger, for all the same reasons. In the year before she died, she also expressed her loneliness. She and my father had very little in common. Although she did have friends, she said to me in the last year of her life, "I have no friends. That's just the way it is." I wonder if she meant that although she had friends, she felt alone in the sense that she never trusted anyone fully or felt a true kinship with anyone. My youngest sister once told me that our mother had expressed to her that no one could be fully trusted. My sister has gone to the other extreme of putting trust in entirely untrustworthy people throughout her life. I feel fortunate to have the level of appropriate trust that I have. Learning to trust has not come easy.