28 years ago, I was orphaned. Technically speaking, it was only my father who died. But after the initial shock of that loss diminished, I realized that my mother was not really a mother.
My mother is a good person. She's bright and strong willed and capable. She has a wide range of interests and was always good for a conversation on art, theatre, music, literature. But she wasn't built for mothering, especially to me. You see, she was in her early 40s when she had me. Her youngest was in school and at last she had time for herself. And a new baby wasn't about to stop her from getting that.
Does my mother love me? Yes. But does my mother really know me? Understand me? Feel joy in my joy and pain in my pain? Is she unconditionally there for me? No, she isn't. And she never was. Had I been a different sort of person, perhaps this wouldn't matter. But I am wired up to feel deeply. To seek a connection to others. To need a connection to others.
I have spent most of my life thinking I'm weird for being wired up the way I am. But lately, I've begun to believe that I'm more human for knowing that connection and empathy are the things that make me human. My capacity to feel is my gift. And I am right to honor it completely. Some situations need empathy. Compassion and doing the right thing instead of the smart thing is what will get me through. And I believe it is what will get us all through.
Yesterday, I was challenged to be honest. To be honest about my pain. Honest about my loneliness. Honest about my fears. This isn't easy for me to do. Not easy for me to ask for others to care about me. But I need. I need to laugh and cry and love. Everyone I meet, everyone I know is a chance for me to love, to learn, to grow. And staying safe, alone, afraid, makes me lost and lonely.
I miss my daughter. I miss hearing her laugh and the way she yells at bad drivers and her lack of patience with idiots.
I miss my father. I miss his joy and passion and his unconditional unending love.
I miss myself. I miss my laugh and my joy and my passion. I want. I need. I feel.