There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.
I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.
~ Jane Austen

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Forgiving the Mother We Were

A year ago today my only child was killed in auto accident. In loving memory of Jeremy. There is not a day that goes by without thoughts of you. Love, Mom.

A passage from the book The Woman's Book of Soul.

Forgiving the Mother We Were

I forgive myself for my past mothering. I am the best mother I can be.
I lovingly support all children in my care.

We are so vulnerable about mothering abilities. It's all too easy for us to feel guilty. Have we done too much or not done enough? Are we too strict or too permissive? Questions such as these can haunt us whether our children are fourteen days old or forty-seven years old. But in order to have peace of mind, we need to forgive the mother we were. This takes great courage, particlular in the face of society's attitude of "it must be the mother's fault" no matter what "it" is.

When my first child was born, I was young, inexperienced, and unhappy...and not too great a mother. I wanted to be good. I tried to be good, but wasn't the kind of good mother I eventually became.

Before, I could relax and be the mother I wanted to be, I needed to forgive the struggling young mother I was originally. I did that by picturing myself in my early twenties, acknowledging my loneliness and confusion, then assuring myself that I did the best I could at the time. And I had.

If you need to forgive the mother you were, allow yourself to close your eyes and see the young woman to the past. How does she feel, and how do you feel about her? Try to understand what motivated the actions or attitudes that you now need to to forgive. Understanding fosters forgiveness.

We all do the best we can at the time. Knowing that helps us to forgive ourselves and, in a climate of forgiveness, we can become better than we were. If our relationships with our children are secure enough, after we heal our shame at not being a perfect parent, we may eventually, want to talk to them about our regrets and ask for their forgiveness.

In the past year I have felt so much guilt about my son and our relationship. I won't go into the issues and hurts I felt in the past with Jeremy, his father and stepmother. I feel fortunate enough that the past few years we talked and laughed. We were in the process of healing our relationship. I pray everyday that he forgives his young mother.



Becky said...

My heart goes out to you. And my prayers.

shabby*girl said...

Dear Sharon,
This is so beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. I am so very sorry for your loss and your pain. It takes great courage to share as you have. I am thinking of you today, my new friend. Big Hugs, Missy

retta519 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I think if your Jeremy could, he'd tell you that there is nothing to "forgive". Love means never having to say you're sorry...remember that line? No matter matter what happened...he knew that you loved him unconditionally. That's what mothers do. You may not have realized it then, but you do now...and now is what really matters. Stay strong.

retta519 said...
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~Becca~Bluebird Rose said...

My heart goes out to you.
I think that forgiving ourselves is the hardest of all.

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Sharon, sending you prayers your way. Hugs and kisses to you.

Primgal55 said...

I agree with retta. I know your son will greet you one day and say "mom - it's Ok. I love you and I know you loved me".

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

hugs, Linda

Vanessa Greenway said...

I'll be praying for you dear. I think about my little one and what kind of mom I am and I realize that I'm the best mother she has. Cause she only knows me. I'm sure you were the best mother he could ever had. He was blessed by having you as his mommy. Blessings, Vanessa

Anna T said...

You have a very sweet spirit and I pray for you.
I was a young Mom and probably can relate more then you can imagine to your words.
Hugs and healing,

Lori said...

Sharon, Love be with you. My best friend 's son was 16 when he was taken in an auto accident. I see her pain, I feel so deeply for you. Love and prayers to you and your son, Lori