A friend posted on social media the other day, sharing her grief. Sharing how much she wished she could go talk to her mother again, just one more time. Her mother died less than a year ago and she is having a hard time with that empty space, believe me, I know that feeling. More than 18 years later I still have times when I find it hard to cope with the empty space, wish I could talk things over with my mother, get her point of view and advice. The grief can, at times, feel overwhelming. One person commented saying, "I am always here if you need someone to talk things over with", or something like that, I don't remember exactly.
I get that a bit as well. Those, well meaning individuals, offering up their time. "I am here to stand in for her if you need me." "When you need someone to talk things over with just call me". So many different offers, in different ways. From people I barely know and a couple from family members. But you know a brother or an aunt is not the same, let alone some stranger I only know online.
I am not trying to hurt any one's feelings, or discount the generous offer. I know the offers come from a good place, a place of love and care. But it feels at times like these offers are minimizing the importance of my mother, and her place in my life. It feels like there is an implication that my mother's presence, thoughts, feelings, history can be replaced, or her absence eased. That is NOT the case. My mother was insurmountably important in my life, that space can never be filled, her absence is deep.
If you have lost your mother, you get it. My mother was not perfect, and our relationship had its ups and downs. I don't parent the way my mother parented me, we are very different. But she knew me from the beginning. She knew me inside and out. She knew how I felt when my first boyfriend moved away. She knew my thoughts and feelings when I joined the army. She was there when I was young and worried about death, started my period, started driving, met Jackson. She shared the joys and fears. She loved me truly unconditionally. And there is a difference. I know that if I have a disagreement with family, we might not talk for a while, but they will always be there for me, and I for them. But with my mother, we could have a disagreement of any magnitude and she would be there to tell me it will be OK, that I have to do what I think is right, that I have to think for myself. She would hug me and we would go on, and I would turn to her the very next day to talk about something else. With my mom it wasn't always about having someone to go to and talk about life's problems. It was having someone that I could be with and not talk at all, and she would know already what was wrong. That she knew the history behind all my decisions, faults, joys, accomplishments, and relationships. I didn't have to explain where I was coming from, because she knew.
I do have family and friends that fill some of the gaps that her absence has left. But there are things about that mother-daughter relationship that I will never know. And that can never be replaced.