Friday 16 July 2010

maybe I didn't love you

I've just come from a rather emotional counselling session where my relationship with Mum was, as it often is, central to what was discussed. As you might expect, one focus of the counselling is on finding reasons for my adult behaviour in what happened to me as a child. Today I told the story of "Mum and Blame", something I mentioned last year in a response to a comment on another post. Essentially, the story is as follows:

I've tried all my life to have my Mother comfort me but she wasn't really the warmest person and never seemed to be "on my side, no matter what", the way I saw other Mothers behave. If something went wrong for me and I was upset, I would invariably go to Mum for comfort only to have her make me feel ten times worse. I would reach for a hug and she would, in turn, reach for whatever explanation she could find to make it all my fault, even when it was actually no-one's fault and all I needed was some sympathy. As I've grown up, I've witnessed other parenting styles and I've come to realise that I never felt that either of my parents would support me or stand up for me. I didn't feel protected. In my late teens, I went through a phase of staying up late talking to Mum, trying to tell her as much about myself as possible. I hoped we were finally connecting, but all my confessions and confidences just got thrown back at me later, whenever it helped her win an argument. I think it's because of this that I'm sensitive to any talk of blame these days and always try and shy away from such talk. Looking back, I find myself playing psychologist and I speculate that Mum (on some subconscious level) panicked whenever I presented myself as unhappy and  was unconsciously desperate to prove that whatever had happened wasn't her fault. 

Anyway, on coming out of the session, I bought a sandwich and was heading back to my car in my usual dazed state, when I passed a busker on the street. He was singing a slow ballad, and I didn't recognise the song at first because I had only ever heard a "disco" version by "The Pet Shop Boys". As I strolled up the street, I didn't properly take in what was being sung:

     Maybe I didn't treat you quite as good as I should.
     Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I could. 
     Little things I should have said and done, 
     I never took the time....

It was only as I passed him that I took in the words:

    Maybe I didn't hold you
    All those lonely, lonely times

Suddenly I was alert. I had the strange feeling of everything being in focus, the feeling that my life had become a movie, complete with an appropriate soundtrack:

    If I made you feel second best,
    I'm so sorry I was blind.
    You were always on my mind.
    You were always on my mind.

It felt like a message. I wondered what the Universe was trying to tell me.

All I can say for sure so far is that it is true: I do seem to be always on Mum's mind these days. She has entirely forgotten her Husband, to whom she was married for 46 years, but she knows me and looks dotingly on me. The question is: can I accept the overflowing, unconditional love that she is suddenly showing me as having any value, knowing that it is only showing up now that some negative aspects of her personality have been deleted by the dementia?

   Tell me, tell me that your sweet love hasn't died.
   Give me one more chance to keep you satisfied.

I don't know if it's too late for me to accept this love as meaningful.