Remembering Mom

Happy Mother’s Day! Since it is already Sunday in Japan, I sent both of my mothers an e-mail, wishing them a very special day. I fully expect that my wonderful Mother-in-Law will have a lovely day surrounded by family, and I wish Chuck and I could be there to celebrate with her, as she is one of the greatest mothers I know. On a less joyous note, however, I always take some time on this day to think about my own mother, from whom I am mostly estranged. Of course, it’s also a good and relevant time to remember that May is Mental Health Month across the country.

ImageFor me, the hardest part about Mother’s Day is watching everyone update their Facebook profiles with pictures and memories of their moms. I’m fairly notorious for being an “ice queen”, and have managed to conquer many of my emotions and move on with my life, but Mother’s Day photos (and wedding day photos), always make me a little sad – especially because I feel like I lose the memory of my own Mom more and more every day. As the gap widens between the Mom of yesteryear and the Mom of today, it is increasingly difficult to remember her when she was happy and healthy. Not only does this make me feel incredibly guilty – it makes me concerned too. I don’t have the best memory as it is (which is why I love pictures so much) but I don’t have access to many good photos of her, either…

…But I do have a few! These were actually taken after she became ill – and there is lots of history and drama behind each one – but they capture glimpses of light that were becoming so rare in those days. Such glimpses are mostly nonexistent now, but I hope that photos like these will at least help me remember her smile.

 

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My sister, Mom, and I with her crazy devil-kitty “Sugie” at her home in Winchester, VA. Mom is now homeless and Sugie developed temperament issues and had to part ways…

 

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One Christmas, Mom bought us matching pave diamond rings to signify our bond. A couple of years ago, she stopped wearing hers and gave it to me to sell.  I can no longer find mine, but hers still sits in my jewelry box.

 

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I love this shot I took of my mom and sister at the in-patient facility in Virginia. It is a soft and genuine moment, yet it captures how lost and changed she was, too. If I ever complete my memoirs, this photo will grace the cover.

I apologize for the downer, but I need to write about my mother once in a while, and it’s as good a time as any to help appreciate the precious gift that is mental health, and mourn those who have lost it.  But now… back to travel, food, shopping, and kittens 🙂

All the pictures on my Facebook newsfeed of friends with their moms made me sad – especially the wedding day ones. Love and miss you Mama, no matter what you say 🙂

On Mother’s Day…

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there – I am lucky to know so many great ones! I don’t like to get too depressing or emo on here, but of course I’ve been thinking about my own mother, and missing her…because overall, it feels like I don’t have one.

My mother is alive, but not well – and not in the traditional sense. In many ways it would be much simpler if she was dying of some physical ailment, but instead, she’s suffering from debilitating mental illness, which is equally as real and even more horrifying in its manifestation – not to mention far more damaging to our relationships, self-esteem, and family as a whole…

It’s a long, confusing story that basically comes down to paranoid delusional and psychotic disorders, suicide attempts, depression, and anxiety. The worst part of it is that she doesn’t think she’s sick, refuses treatment, and has shut my dad, sister, and I out because she thinks we have contributed to or downright caused her delusional state of misery, fear, and loneliness. Worse yet – I can barely remember a time when she was happy, and what made her great as a mom (because once upon a time, she was…)

Anyway, I don’t want to dwell much on the matter, and I don’t want to pity myself. It’s truly her that suffers most. I just wanted say how much I miss her, and struggle to remember better times while also trying to move on and accept that she will never get better, but most likely worse… continuing to cope with the fact that she blames me for her situation, and however much I know intellectually that it’s not real, it is very real to her… and that’s all that really matters. Unfortunately, her reality drives this, not ours. In her mind, I have hurt her, and we both have to live with that.

Mom, you are far from us physically, mentally, and emotionally, but even though I try to forget you and all that has happened, I will always love you. Happy Mother’s Day ❤