Dates pass as dates tend to do. I take note each time. Better or worse, I can’t say until they’ve arrived. The two year anniversary of my mother’s event passed on the 4th of last month. The two year anniversary of her death is in January…her birthday is on the 19th, in just a few days. With this season of difficulty here again, I’ve been reflecting on all the change. And I need to verbalize a few things today to get them out in front of me if nothing else.
The day I found out, I had just returned home from vacation with my kids. The trip up north we take every summer before Labor Day. The trip we will continue to take each year. It’s always a joyous break for us. Away from the world. Though I’d texted with my mom the entire trip, that year I felt a black cloud over the week that I couldn’t explain. From the moment we settled into the house, my energy was low, and I felt weight looming over me. The weather was bad. My dog ran off on us. I slept a lot. I fought with my kids. Nothing was working. A force of some kind was bringing all of us down. It didn’t feel happy. Like usual. Because life was changing. I just didn’t know it yet.
As I watched my mother suffer without a voice or use of her own body, I made a conscious choice to wake myself up. Finally, and by force. And clean myself up. When we were back home that week, my brother asked me, late one night, “…what do I do?” Simply. He was lost. I said, “there’s nothing you can do. Just be good to people.” I made a promise that I would be better to my kids. Like she’d been to us. That I’d listen without feeling burdened or irritated. That all my energy would be theirs. I made a promise to get better. To drop all the vices and toxic habits. To mend the hurt between my daughters’ mother and myself. To make the best of our new reality. Instead of sinking further down than I’d been. Instead of being sick. It could have so easily gone the other way. I just happened to refuse it.
And something began to take place that I wasn’t familiar with. I noticed a change in the vibration that circled around me. In purging out loud everything that was happening and attempting to heal, it attracted energy that only saw my pain and weakness. That only saw me as a broken person and nothing more. I was just a mirror, in the moment, to reflect the hurts in others. The importance of the form I inhabited, inconsequential past that. Feigned care turned to indifference turned to hatred. Learning to get well alienated me from people who only knew me when I was hurting. Yet there I was left standing unsupported by the ones who never knew me as broken, refusing to hear my hurt at all. Stuck in the middle.
Which reminded me of a word my mom often used. “Limerence”. Which she always used tentatively and incorrectly. She was often distrustful that faxes, texts and emails went off into “Limerence”. No true proof of receipt. She would also describe the space stuck hovering between life and the afterlife as “being in Limerence”. Though it was wrong, I always knew what she meant. And I’m able to see the poignancy in her own usage of the word in so many ways now.
Truth be told, Limerence is defined as “an involuntary, inspiring state of adoration and attachment involving intrusive and obsessive thoughts, feelings and behaviors from euphoria to despair, contingent on perceived emotional reciprocation“…The perception of hope choreographed by mixed messages. We are not always the only ones controlling our emotions. Perception pulls our strings. We are only human. Remember that.
My mother was stuck, hovering in “Limerence” for four months. We never knew if she would speak the next day. Eat on her own. Or pass in the night. False hope and perception pulling our strings. Controlling our vibrations. We are only human. And for a year afterwards, I felt in a “Limerence” of my own. Rejected for the same hurts that had drawn people to me. Yet rejected for rising above my own pain. Stuck in the middle.
No matter where, on this timeline, you dropped in or out of my life, these are things I’ve been working through every day for two years. Every day I balance those promises I made to be better so long ago, with hurt and false hope. These things come with me where I go. I have to continue to treat them tenderly. Like it or not, they are part of me when I ask to be accepted and understood and give the same.
As life changes again, I’ve found healthy ways to accept my healing and let new energy surround me. I have learned to translate my own ongoing ‘Limerence’ into a positive output for others. I am learning to manage the balance of hurt while still Growing the Good in my home. Creating comforts in any way I can. Where I stand now is the best I’ve been. Being able to put words to this is proof enough for me.
I am no longer merely treading water.
Mother’s Day will arrive in May. And I will, once again, handle it the best I know how. And, once again, it probably won’t be to everyone’s liking. But I’m doing my best. I’d like to believe we all are. I suppose it depends on perception.