May 9, 2019
by Mo McElroy
The stroller went round and round the block for five years, and the wheels had to be replaced more than once. "How do stroller wheels wear out," my mother asked? I, a toddler had no answer, even though I was the passenger for a thousand miles. My Nana was barely able to speak from inside the agony of her nervous breakdown, but she could walk me for hours on end, then bathe me, give me enemas and put me to sleep. My mother, Genevieve smoked smelly cigarettes and brooded. The dog hid. I howled and escaped to my Garden of Eden in the backyard where I could pick warm apricots and raspberries and just be. And stay out of the way.
My siblings and I called her Genevieve behind her back when she got angry put us on ice, froze us out for days before she would speak. When my sister was 20 and became pregnant, my mother made my dad take her hours away to live alone and instructed me to tell my new middle school friends that I had no sister. When the baby was born, she refused to see her. On the broken home front, mom threw pots and pans at my rebellious older brother while I ducked to avoid the weapons.
And then, one day in the kitchen washing dishes with me, she collapsed and hit the floor at age 48 of a frightening heart incident. The next 10 years were a pharmaceutical blur for both of us. She spent years on and off in the hospital with heart procedures and botched surgery that led to a partial amputation of her hand which left her in unrelenting pain. I snuck out with my friends and stayed stoned and drunk, got pregnant and then wasn't and went into a deep depression. The chasm grew, and my father bridged the gap with as much love for us all as he could muster.
My mother was admitted into a groundbreaking program back in the '70s. In six weeks, she has weaned off all drugs and was pain-free through bio-feedback and visualization. The family was included in the program, and our part was to go to meditation and hypnotherapy sessions so we could relate and support my mom. It was transformative for us all.
We all woke up from the deep sleep, and when the Light of Joy shone through our home and hearts, we healed. My mom came home. My sister and the baby came back. We are grateful that she kept that baby who was beloved by mom and dad and I thrived being her auntie. My brother who was my hero guided me the rest of his life, and we all found common ground in a beautiful meditation path. For the rest of Genevieve's life, her new name was Nana, and she was absolutely beloved by her five grandchildren. She got a fresh start. And we became the best of friends often laughing that she would ring the bell ornament on the Christmas tree or find some way to be my mom still when she was gone.
Lately, I've been wanting to talk to her about my life situations.
On Sunday morning I came across an old file and found a card from my mom.
The Hallmark card said"The secret to coping is to always look on the positive side! Like, if you're ever in quicksand, you could say, "Hey! People can no longer see my thighs!"
Her personal note in the card said,
"The words are from people so much smarter than me. They teach lessons in such a simple and profound way.! I love you with all my heart! Even from the other side, I'll be there for you. I promise!" Your friend, Pollyanna.
Two small pieces of paper were tucked inside with handwritten inspirational quotes:
"Judge your success by the degree that you're enjoying Peace, Health, & Love."
"Take your troubles and teach them to swim rather than drowning them!"
"Life: When it's GOOD it's wonderful! When it's BAD, it's an experience."
And my favorite, which went right into me like an arrow of wisdom read:"There is a secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that we can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Thanks, Mommy for keeping your promise to be with me from the other side. Very clever of you to send me to that old file to find your messages. I'm sharing this with my friends. Happy Mother's Day.
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