My mom died. After developing pneumonia followed by sepsis, she was transferred to a beautiful hospice home here in Asheville and died peacefully in her sleep.
She loved ballroom dancing, played piano beautifully, and was an energetic and phenomenal teacher for over 20 years. She had an incredible love for the English language. Her vocabulary and ability to express herself in the written form was beyond impressive. She moved to South America by herself at the age of 60 and re-learned Spanish to the point of fluency. I joined her in hiking four days through the Andes mountains to reach Machu Picchu - she was 62 at the time and it was a difficult hike for my 25 year old self. She was resilient, brave, highly intelligent, dynamic, creative, clever, funny and beautiful. If you met her, you remembered her.
I hold all of the above to be true, and I also know that it was extremely difficult being her daughter. She was a textbook narcissist. She didn’t give me space to be myself, never stopped trying to mold me into her version of me and was pretty disappointed with my version of me. She resented my taking an active, engaged and thoughtful approach to motherhood, which was radically different than her approach. She was legitimately incapable of seeing and appreciating me for who I am. She betrayed me, she rejected me and she hurt me. This was a heartbreaking relationship.
In my desire to write this I've been reflecting and taking a macro view of her life. To sum up a lot, she never received the love she needed, and was therefore unable to give the love she should have. There’s a lot of tragedy in that sentence, for her; for me. Framing her in this context gives me comfort though. It wasn’t her fault… and it wasn’t about me. She really, really tried the best way she knew how. I tried too. I tried my whole life; goddamn did I try. The last months of her life I did everything I could to make sure she left this world knowing she was loved. Even though she made it really fucking difficult, she was. I will be spending quite some time sorting out these ambiguous feelings and working toward peace. For now, I am deeply, deeply sad. I will be grieving everything that she was and everything that she couldn’t be.