Monday, January 28, 2008

Off Balance...

I have been feeling especially off balance lately. But I had not been able to figure out what was the cause of my state of befuddlement. That is until yesterday.

Its amazing how one image can give you so much insight. While watching television yesterday I saw a mother and daughter. It struck me at that moment that much of my general state of confusion has to do with or at least may have to do with losing my mother.

I lost my mother a pretty long time ago. She was still pretty young and it was unexpected.

During that time, like many young women, I was not really concerned about my relationship with my mother. All I new was if I needed her she would be there for me.

My mother and I had not yet achieved any sort of real closeness. I think in time that would have changed as sometimes happens as daughters get older. No such luck.

So I spent a little time yesterday trying to understand how the loss of my mother has affected me.

I think one major effect has been a loss of a general feeling of safety. I don't have a safety net. If I fall down there is no one to pick me up. I've already experienced this a few years ago. I had a financial crisis and I remember thinking that I couldn't believe that I can't call my mother.

And you know something else. Since I lost my mother I don't really feel like I have a home. I just don't feel like I have any roots anywhere. There is no physical space that represents to me where family should be.

I suppose in a general sense I am still connected to New York as home but even that isn't the same.

I know that losing my mother has affected me in a lot of ways. Many of those ways I'm sure I'm not even aware of yet. I suppose over time more will be revealed.

Over the last several years I have tried to get that unconditional love that I was missing from relationships. But that puts way too much pressure on a relationship.

I guess I'm trying to figure out how to fill the void. I feel like a sailboat with no sail.

I need to regain my balance.

I feel like I'm rambling.

Any advice?

Photo Attribution: Nijla


Lady Di said...

MDC - I have had 3 mothers in my life and no "connected" connection to any of them except... the now "Mom", sorta. Ok, here's where it gets long. I was told that at 9 months old, "birth" Mom's had a breakdown, I guess, from being an estranged young wife & mother. I'm trying to piece all of this together myself some 30+ years later. After my Dad left her taking my 3 siblings (reason unknown but some say he was education/work first, kids/home last or to the wife), she just lost it. So, where this "adopting" woman (mother #2) came in is unclear for many, many reasons. She didn't want children. So how and why she got me from "birth" Mother is still left unanswered. So good bye birth Mom till age 111 or so?? Fuzzy.

Well all sorts of BS must have happened because story has it that I told a teacher I did not want to learn my A,B,C's. Have no clue why a frail lil kid like me would have done this but I must have been acting out against something. I got tore up in class in front of the class by the person who adopted me. I never looked back as it seemed to be all down hill from there. I was sent to several different schools all the way to 15 because I was lashing out at the love no one gave me - as in saying it nor feeling it. Soooooo, many other things happened along this time, some very horrific. I'll give you one that gets to #3 mom.

I was at the babysitter's and she pulled me up telling me she had something to tell me. I was all of 11 or so. She told me that my sister was either dying or dead, can't recall which. AND, that I was adopted. (GASP) Ok, so all of this at 11??? I had no clue what any of it meant but I did see my sister for the first time in her casket and the woman sis & the siblings (met for the first time as well) called "Mom" - #3.

Life went royally down hill coming back to B-more and at 15 I was in Juvi when my birth Dad picked me up and off to his house an hour away we went. So now here's this Mother #3 and all anger from havoc comes loose because these people have no idea what I've gone through and never (that I recall) take the time to find out. I say alllllll of that to say this. You can't re-write HERstory nor yours. What you have to do is find the best memories that you can, even if it is one. Play it over and over again as that would be what she would want. #1 is gone on to heaven and I hurt everyday of my life that when we did see one another and I was old enough, I was still too hurt because no one talked TO me. She was too far gone mentally and was still trying to pick up where Mommy left off. WHAT I thought?

Anyway, Mother #2 maybe in her resting place too as she was just under my current age when she adopted me. Rest her soul and I don't miss her at all, no sorry. If you only know. I could have wrote the Black version of Mommy Dearest.

Mother #3 is dealing with a long term health issue bless her soul. She is the epitome of a woman but we just never deeply connected because... Mom #1 called her everyday of her life and gave her the verbal azz whipping of a lifetime. Miss I could not drive a bike threatened to go an hour up there and whip her tail if she hit me. See she was on meds and her own home grown meds too. Stuck in the latee 60's to early 70's ok? Poor thing.

Stay strong lady. Hold on to everything dear that you can from her. Look up each and every day and talk to her. I believe she'll hear you even when you don't.

If you choose not to publish this because of information in it, fine by me. At least you know there's one more who's sharing similar feelings as you when it comes to her Mother!!

I feel a wee better, hope you will too.

Lady Di said...

If you've made it this far, then your "sailboat HAS a sail". It's you Mom!! ;) Maybe if you look at it that way then you'll move along this never ending ocean of... without ever feeling "void" again. :)

HUGS!! (ok lots)

Tami said...

This is so hard, MDC. I don't know what this feels like--I can only imagine and empathize--so I don't know how much help I can be. But I have a friend...she still has both of her parents, but they have not been close and live far away from her. She remarked once that she had created a network of good friends and they were her family. They support one another...spend holidays together...Have you formed a group of friends like this? Maybe it could help.

jjbrock said...

Mes Deux Cents I will pray for you. I will pray that God move on whoever heart He will. I don't know if it's yours or your mother but I can offer that.

I had a very close relationship with my mother. She join the ancestors in 2004 and it is still painful and, I miss her. She is the one that always had my back.

Baby Please said...

My mother passed when I was a young child. It was quite traumatic. I was only 11 years old. I am certain it has affected me in many ways.

"I think one major effect has been a loss of a general feeling of safety. I don't have a safety net. If I fall down there is no one to pick me up. I've already experienced this a few years ago. I had a financial crisis and I remember thinking that I couldn't believe that I can't call my mother."

Like you, I feel this way. One financial misstep and doom. No help. On my own. Blah Blah Blah. But as I'm getting older, I am feeling better about this only cuz my Creator has always been the safety net. And people come out of nowhere. Quite amazing, really.

Briefly, several years ago I was sick. The people who were there for me (with me) were people who shouldn't have been; but the Creator brought them to me.

But the Creator has put people there when I needed to have people there. Those people are obviouisly not my mother but they are blessings.

I just figure the Creator took a little girl's mother for whatever reason but I do know I"ve been given many things; many blessings.

This makes me feel better.

I hope it makes you feel beter, too; cuz I know you have blessings, even though I don't know you.

kayoz said...

dear mdc,
i'm not sure if i am the right person to give any advice, but i want to tell you that losing a mom is better than growing up with a mother who doesn't behave like one. i don't mean it as bitter as it sounds, what i meant to say is that i exactly understand your feelings and share them. i also feel as if i had no roots or home. and i also tried hard for a long time to gain unconditional love from need to tell you it always ended desastrous.

what i have learned are two things: first, i heard nick cave talk once about the loss of his father and he said the whole in his heart could not be filled by anything or anyone but creativity... as you are already good in that, just keep it flowing... (smiles)
second, i had to realize at one point in my life that i cannot get unconditional love from anyone if i am not willing to give it to myself as well. always fighting for the love of others and trying to bend me whichever way they might like me almost make me lose my identy and worse made me hate myself...
maybe you can learn from this...

all the best


Afrodite said...

Unfortunately, I have no advice if you have lost your mother but my condolences go out to you.

What you said about mothers and daughters getting closer as they get older really struck a nerve. I'm not very close to my mom and I figured we would be as I got older but there seems to be more of a disconnect.

I dunno...

Danielle said...

MDC - I feel your pain. My Grandmother raised me from infancy. She was my legal guardian and NY was my home. She passed away almost 3 yrs. ago and life has not been the same.

I felt rudderless for a long time after her death and I still do. I'm in San Fran away from my "home" because NY will always be home to me and it has been hard.

I have wonderful friends, but that sense of connection to who I am and my history has been taken away from me and it's hard. I still miss her because her influence gave me a sense of self and the knowledge that I was loved no matter what.

I don't know what advice to give you. I just take it one day at a time MDC. I visit NY as often as I can and see my family and I feel good because I know who I am.

I will eventually move back because though I've built a lovely life for myself out here, nothing beats those who know you better than you know yourself and the security it brings.

I wish you all the best!

Jackie said...

MDC, as you know I lost my mom recently. So it is still very fresh for me. The feelings you are having are certainly perfectly normal. A church member told me just yesterday, don't let anyone put a time limit on your grief. She also said grief is almost like it's organic, it moves through your body. You feel it emotionally, physically. I know I feel off balance and vulnerable too. No safety net, is a good way to express it.
MDC, feeling that need to call her, I've been told, is one of the things that just never goes away.

So let yourself feel what you feel. And, as another good friend told me about grieving her mom, eventually like everything else that goes away, it slowly became part of who she is. So, no need to try to fill that void. It'll happen when it happens. So sweetie, nope you are not rambling, it's just so very hard, believe me I know.

Miriam said...



Mothers are certainly the house. In Hebrew, girls are called "bat". The same word for House. They say women make the mood, they make the house.

But you are also a 'bat'.

And at the same time I am sure you're mom did many wonderful things that she could before she passed away. Things that are helping you even now. (like when you were a kid and sitting quietly on the bus cuz the neighbors might report you! lol I still remember that story!) I don't know if you're spiritual or not but if you are: then its not like she's gone forever. All her teachings are embedded in you! And she may still be intervening on your behalf. Even that you have a memory of her is something to hold on to.

(If you're not spiritual then forget the intervening part )

I wish I knew the right words to're a wonderful person and stability and safety is not a weird thing to look for in a partner.

I wish you love.

GoldenAh said...

>>Over the last several years I have tried to get that unconditional love that I was missing from relationships. But that puts way too much pressure on a relationship.

Sorry for your loss. I have to admit I don't know what that's like. My folks are close by, and I'm not a spring chicken.

I have a BFF, that I've known since junior high. Our friendship is unconditional love. I try to make sure all my friendships are that way.

I look at loving relationships the same way: it should be unconditional. Don't feel you are putting too much pressure on a person(s) if this is what you seek.

Trusting people, getting close to them takes a lot of time. When you need help, they will appear.

Take care.

SheCodes said...


My heart goes out to you, and I can only pray and hope that you find the anchor that you need.

While there is nobody that can take your mothers' place, there are other relationships that will come that can give you that sense of 'home'.

Some places for 'anchoring' and home:

- Although it's not for everybody, a warm, good church that isn't too big. Even if you aren't technically 'a believer', the sense of belonging and family that you can get from the 'mothers' in my church is indescribable. They will physically feed you in the kitchen if you let them. They'll take you home and some have even bailed people out financially (although we stopped them from doing this!!)

- When you look for a man to marry... CHECK OUT HIS FAMILY and make their dynamic an important criteria. My sister in law had an extremely dysfunctional family and bless her heart, has become as close to us as my own blood sisters. My mother has become her mother in every real sense of the word 'mother'. If your husband has good parents, move to be near them.

- Honor your own mother, have rituals like placing fresh flowers next to her picture, and say a prayer and positive affirmation for your life

- When you finally have babies, you will miss her even more, but I am told that something in you feels 'settled' and 'whole' when they curl up to you and fall asleep in your lap.

So you are in a transition, and take all the time that you need. I know it's not much, but your blog family cares for you too... and I hope that by coming here every day, we can give you a sense of stability too.



Eb the Celeb said...

you scared me for a second when you started... my lil step brother died a couple years ago because he had a tumor on his brain stem...

he started falling down for no reason , since the brain stem helps you with your balance and when we took him to the doctor that saw the tumor... so your saying you have been off balance lately scared me a lil bit...

But you meant balance not literally .

Anali said...

You're not rambling. Everything you say makes so much sense. Take care MDC.

Blu Jewel said...

I think we all have moments like this where we wonder and reflect, so I think it's pretty normal.

Allow yourself to work through these feelings one by one and know that you've already accomplished what so many fail to and that's to have a voice and not be afraid to use it.

You'll regain your balance; this is just a phase.

Lisa said...

MDC: I don't have any advice, I certainly understand how you feel. What about your extended family? Your sister? That's what helped me -

James Tubman said...

read my post "how to be happy no matter what"

Don said...

Love the straight forwardness of your post, Mes Deux. I am very fortunate to have found my way to your blog. It's very honest, informing, entertaining, and filled with the same Old Earth flavor which feeds my soul. I thank Sage for leading me your way.

As for your post, to be perfectly honest with you, I don't think you can fill that void. At least I personally do not see how the loss of the emotional comfort of your own mother can be replaced.

I deal with the exact same through the estrangement of my two young daughters. They were my spirit, in a sense. And this is coming from someone who never had what you call a mom & dad. My late grandmother was the closest I've ever had to that unconditional love which you touched upon.

In 2 years no one and nothing has replaced my daughters. In 23 years, there has been no love which compared to the love I hold for my grandma.

I simply carry on the way a person carries on when he has no other choice but to carry on.

Janie said...

I think the fact that you can speak about the void is important, though not sufficient. There is NO ONE that can take the place of your mother.

Hold her in your heart. Her spirit is with you as corny and cliche as that sounds.

My mother is still alive and I probably take her presence for granted.

When all else fails you can believe that she is IN/WITH you. Always.

Monica Roberts said...

I'm fortunate my mother is still alive, but I lost my gradmother who I was very close to in 2002.

I can feel what your talking about in terms of my gradmother. Evry June 4 (her birthday) and every February 26 (the day she passed away) I get depressed.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Lady Di,

Wow I'm sorry you had to go through all of that. I'm also glad you survived. :)

It's amazing the pain we have to deal with sometimes. Our lives can be so complicated. It's so hard sometimes to make sense of it all.

Do you have any sort of relationship with your other siblings? That is something that is lacking in my life. My siblings and I come from different marriages of our dad. So we didn't really grow up together.

So they still have their moms.

Also you and I have in common that we came into life with our mothers dealing with a lot. My parents were divorcing as I was born. It's rough coming into life like that.

Thanks for sharing with me. I hope you are finding ways to be content and happy.




I think that is something that I'm in the process of doing.

There are a lot of transplants like me in the area. So I think a lot of us are trying to make surrogate families. It's not easy though.


I'm sorry you lost your mom. And I appreciate your prayers.


Baby Please,

I'm sorry you lost your mom.

These words of yours really help;

"But as I'm getting older, I am feeling better about this only cuz my Creator has always been the safety net. And people come out of nowhere. Quite amazing, really."

That is true for me too. I have had people be there for me when I thought I had no one.

Thanks for your words. They give me a lot of hope!



"always fighting for the love of others and trying to bend me whichever way they might like me almost make me lose my identy and worse made me hate myself..."

Wow that's powerful. I have fallen into that too at different times.

And you are right about giving the kind of love we want in return. As I write this I can think of one occasion when that may have made a big difference in a relationship.

I'll put that bit of knowledge in my pocket for future use. :)



Well maybe you can talk to your mom about the two of you being closer?

She probably wants the same thing.


I'm sorry you lost your Grandmother.

"nothing beats those who know you better than you know yourself and the security it brings."

That is sooooo true. I miss that feeling so much!

Thanks for sharing


I remember about your mom. I hope you are doing okay.

Wow that feeling of wanting to call my mom is so strong sometimes! The when I realize I can't I feel so lost.

Thanks for letting me know I wasn't rambling. :)



"And she may still be intervening on your behalf."

That's a wonderful and comforting thought.

Your words made me feel better, thanks!



You're right, relationships and trust take time. I have to be patient and let them mature.



You know, I have been craving a church home. The trouble is I am really picky and also I want to avoid drama, if you know what I mean.

Maybe this is why I have been wanting to find a church.

You give great advice.

And it means a lot that I have my blog family. It really does!



Sorry I didn't mean to bring back bad memories.

Sorry about your little bro.



Thanks :)

Blu Jewel,

I think you are right. I'll be relieved to get on the other side of this confusion.

That, as you say, takes time.


My older sister is in Europe. She's been there for a really long time. I really don't think she is ever going to move back.

I get an email from her every now and then, that's about it.

I have other siblings but they are half's. We aren't close. Oh well.


Okay I will.



I hope you find your way back to your little ones. I imagine that must feel very much like I feel.

You hang in there!

Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

That darn Sage, I wish she would visit every now and then.


"Hold her in your heart. Her spirit is with you"

That doesn't sound clichéd at all.



Lady Di said...

Yep MDC, HAVE found ways to be content and happy. :) And me & my (younger step) sis are kinda close but I never latched to women at all because I never latched to them as a child, you see. Bonding is done from the womb until I would say 2. I don't feel that happened with me because of many things I will never know. And I still don't latch to women some 30+ years later OK? It can't be taught - it's a natural from birth I believe so I just adjust as I go. My 2 (older) natural brother's live in other states and we were never really close because of what they suffered from the spit themselves it seems.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Lady Di,

I'm glad you have found contentment, it's a beautiful thing! :)

MrsGrapevine said...

Losing a mother is hard no matter when it occurs. I just lost my mom in July to a hard battle against cancer. I am her only child and she was my only family here in Dallas. I just gave birth to my youngest, and a week later they gave her prognosis of 3-6 months. Unlike you my mom and I were close, not so much in the last two years, but through out our relationship we were more like sisters. So, I say all that to say it's always hard. There are always moments you will look back on as lost, times you could have spent together, and moments you could have opened up to her. You have to really embrace the moments you do have, and let go of the should haves and could haves because they will drive you crazy. Just hold to the intense love you have for her, and know that her love for you was greater. You don't have to search for a substitute because the love is still there.

I do I thank God that he waited until I was married and with children, because if not I wouldn't know how to get through the day, and I can barely get through this post. The love can't be replaced, and it's an unfair expectation to both you and your mate.

Just remember a mother's love never fades, and it's there somewhere within.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Mrs G,

First, I'm so sorry for your loss.

It's a good thing indeed that you have a family of your own. That's a support system that I hopefully will have one day.

"Just hold to the intense love you have for her, and know that her love for you was greater."

That's a beautiful thought. That's something that will definitely help me.


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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron