The relationship between mothers and their daughters has provided inspiration for countless movies, novels and memoirs--something I totally get. I don't have much of a relationship with my mother; to be honest, for the past couple of years, I've had none at all. It's true, that old saying, "You can choose your friends but not your family." For my mother and me, a good relationship was never going to happen. From the beginning, we seemed to have wildly divergent interests, beliefs and values.
When asked why our relationship devolved so drastically--to the point that I've spoken to her for a total of three minutes in over a year--the only answer I really have is that I got tired of being disappointed. With a few exceptions, Mom never seemed that interested in what was going on in my life, especially once I was married. There was never what most people would consider an appropriate level of interest or excitement when Hannah and Charlotte were born, in their milestones, or even when I finally told her about everything that Charlotte had been going through. Instead, our very short conversations always turned back to Mom and her health issues.
Of course I was concerned about her, but more and more dismayed at what I saw as a shocking lack of curiosity about any condition or treatment mentioned by her doctors. Every time she called I would have to Google a diagnosis or a new list of symptoms. And she never seemed that interested in my girls, or in my sister's, something I found to be both unfathomable and inexcusable. But this of course is only how it appeared to me. After all, there are always two sides to a story. Perhaps she thought the same of me. Perhaps she was disappointed in her daughter. Perhaps I was just never able to understand and appreciate her view of the world.
Earlier today, Hannah asked me why she didn't ever see "Other Grandma."
"Is it because she was mean to you?"
"No, of course not. She lives on the East coast and we just don't really, well, we just don't talk that much anymore."
"Well, we just don't have that much in common, and we're all so busy . . . "
There was no way I was going to tell her the whole bit about being tired of being disappointed, sad that my mother never called to check in, didn't send birthday cards or any of that grandmotherly stuff. What I did tell Hannah was that there was no way she and I would ever get within miles of that situation. She means too much to me and I approach that love and our relationship in an entirely different way. We have our arguments, yes. We butt heads (often), yes. But that is because we are both strong willed. But we think and we love and we talk about things. And I will make sure that we always do.
My mother died tonight. I'll never get a chance to try to bridge the chasm between us. But I also know in my heart that it was unlikely that the attempt would have made a difference.
Perhaps I'm still numb from all that's gone on this week. Since my brother called with the news, I've had teary moments, but not the gut-wrenching sobs like those for Argus. Thomas says--rightly, sad as this is--that I was probably closer to the dog.
So now I'm having a glass (or two) of wine, hoping that it will assist in my search for the tears that ought to be there. Because right now, the thing that feels the worst is that I don't seem to feel at all.
I'm sure it will come. I'll just have to keep looking.