Gifts From Your Mother - The legacy she leaves behind
The greatest gift my mother ever gave me is life - Wendy Fry
You might be surprised to learn just how many gifts your mother has passed on to you - whether it is something physical as in amazing health, being a fast runner or an excellent swimmer, or speaking a language fluently. Perhaps it is having the ability to think on your feet and be efficient etc. These gifts may also present themselves as practical skills, maybe you share a love of baking, gardening, animals, nature, singing, or homemaking. There are so many gifts your mother will have passed down to you whether you are aware of them or not.
In Remembering Mother, Finding Myself, Patricia Commins, shares insights from clinical psychologist Dr Patricia Garrity, who calls these connections with our mothers ‘’cherishable memories.’’ As daughters, we are able to remember the nurturing presence of our mothers and bring this influence into our every day experience if we choose to.
Remember too, that life doesn’t always have to be serious. You can laugh at the fact that you share negative traits with your mother – like being a perfectionist, too quick to over react, or a control freak etc.
I know that my mother’s nurturing skills were demonstrated by providing a hot meal each day, having our clothes washed and ironed and in keeping a clean and tidy home. Following in her footsteps, my home is clean and organised, I get things done, I can multi-task and have great attention to detail. I only wish my lemon meringue pie was as good as hers, but I thank her for all these gifts as it was her way of showing she cared.
If you don’t remember much about your mother, you may be able to ask her friends or other family members, about the pleasures and passions she enjoyed. Not only does asking others to share the things your mother enjoyed doing keep her memory alive but the insights discovered are gifts by way of learning about her life and how you remain connected through shared interests and pastimes. You can re-connect in love by doing the very things she used to enjoy. What brought her joy may also bring you comfort.
It’s possible you have kept hold of cards and gifts your mother gave you, heirlooms which have been passed down, or special keepsakes which you hold dear. Some of us may not be fortunate enough to have these things depending on circumstances. Finding ways to connect with your mother and recognising the gifts shared will not always be physical but rather having a connection energetically. If there are photographs and family mementos which you have not yet had an opportunity to look through you might find some hidden treasures you were unaware of and gain awareness into your mother’s life which you never knew about. In learning more about your mother, you learn more about yourself.
Lorna Case Study
Lorna came to work with me for support in overcoming stress and depression
Lorna had a wonderful relationship with her mother. It was the kind of relationship where mother and daughter were friends but they had healthy boundaries. Mary, Lorna’s mother, was an encourager. Mary supported Lorna to live life to the full and to experiment with being all she could be. While Mary was alive, Lorna found herself excelling at school, she was sporty, well liked by her peers and was confident. She achieved much and went on to be a teacher like her mother. She later married and had two daughters. Lorna felt ‘she had it all’. She was in a stable job she loved, had a supportive husband, happy kids and good friends.
But then, her mother died suddenly. Lorna came to me stressed, depressed and feeling as though life wasn’t worth living without her mother. Grief work can be delicate and so working slowly with Lorna, we uncovered different ways to keep memories of her mother alive whilst at the same time, finding closure around her mother’s sudden death. Lorna had not been able to say goodbye in the physical sense and she needed to find new ways to fully separate from her mother and understand that she could stand on her own two feet and carry on living a happy life.
Lorna had always been a creative soul; she spoke fondly of her treasured photo albums, things her mother had made for her to wear and recipes passed down through the generations, as well as mementos she had from her grandmother (her mother’s mother). We discussed different ways of working through her pain. As Lorna was artistic and had a great eye for colour, detail and collage work, she decided to make some artwork which she called ‘Mother’s Love. Lorna found this project was a really enjoyable way to record happy memories and it also gave her the emotional release she needed.
Lorna spent many happy afternoons making a collage of her memories. She was able to scan and print photos, use pieces of fabric and include snippets of information from her mother’s and grandmother’s past. She kept her mother’s memory alive through her creative pursuits and by asking family members to talk about her mother and to share their own happy memories of her. Her artwork allowed her to feel and express the buried emotions she had kept inside after her mother’s death.
Although Mary was no longer physically there to support Lorna, she came to realise she had everything inside of her she needed to continue to build on the positive life and love which had been handed down. She learnt how to nurture herself in times of stress, she grew more confident in herself and her abilities without her mother’s support and acknowledgement. Lorna made it her mission to show the same love and care towards her daughters as Mary had shown her.
There are so many different ways to heal. Lorna’s way was through artistic expression. For you, it might be journaling, writing poetry, carrying on the family traditions through baking, gardening, singing etc. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood and if your own upbringing wasn’t as happy as Lorna’s, I want you to know it’s never too late to make positive change.
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