Sunday, May 08, 2005

To Margaret

In Honour of my parents Ed and Margaret Kehler
Happy Mother's & Father's Day
I was trying to do a post and only talk about my mother, on this Mother's Day, but couldn't separate the two of them. Dad died in 1995, and after my Mom died in 2000, I did a computer scrapbook page with a poem journalled in it. It is hard to see in this format, but on the top left you will see Mom and Dad working in our garden. The poem went like this:
My Parents Garden:
Our parents kept a garden.
A garden on the heart
They planted all the good things
That gave our lives it's start.
They turned us to the sunshine
And encouraged us to dream
Fostering and nurturing
The seed of self esteem..
And when the winds and rain came,
They protected us enough,
But not too much, because they knew..
You'd need to stand up strong and tough.
Their constant good example
Always taught us right from wrong..
Markers for your pathway
That will last a lifetime long.
We are our parent's garden
We are their legacy..
and I hope today they feel the love
Reflected back from me.

The actual poem is called My Mother's Garden, but it wasn't, because it was their I changed it to suit my brother and myself. My parents were alway inseparable, so this was only befitting. After Dad died my mom was at such loose ends, it was terrible. I tried so hard to fill in some of the gaps, but I couldn't. The harder I tried it seemed the more of a mess I made...(at least I thought I did) . I was so busy tripping over myself trying to make her feel happier, that I lost sight of the fact, that this is something she had to do herself.

We never had any BIG Mother - Daughter talks...even when I was young. She was a very private person. She brought me up as she was brought up. Sex was never talked about. I got all my information from True Story Magazines, but shit...those stories always started with a couple necking and such, and in the next sentence she was pregnant....fortheloveofmike...I needed the inbetween stuff!! I didn't get my first bra, until she found me wearing one of her's, and I had stuffed it all up with toilet paper!!! I didn't get any information about my periods until I came home from school bleeding...and thought I was dying.

Jumping forward to the week after my dad died, we were sitting together a the A&W having a burger downtown after filing all the necessary papers of his death at the Provincial offices. The lady who had taken down all the information about Dad..was kind enough to tell my Mom that she noticed her last name was Kehler, and she said that knew that was a Mennonite name. My mom's eyes lit up. The lady proceeded to tell her, that she was Mennonite as well, and still longed for the Mennonite food her mother used to make. Mom and her had about a twenty minute conversation, about Mennonite cooking, that meant so much to talk a bit about Dad and Mennonite food...she was in her comfort zone. So...when we were having our burger, Mom suddenly stopped in mid bite of the burger...looked at me..and know Joan, I have lost my husband, the father of my children, my best friend, and my lover!!!.......She said, "lover"....damn near lost my burger...this was way too much information. I just wanted to get under the table at the A&W and make it all go away. I truly found out that day, that she was a real person, not just my mom.

After 5 long years without my Dad, she became ill with breast cancer. I was there. I was there. I was there. After Dad died we had agreed that it would be best to move out of the old apartment and get a little closer too me, as I was driving across town like a fool, almost every evening after work to check up on her. We got her moved and she lived within 1/2 mile from me, within driving and walking distance. Those years, were the most heart wrenching years I have ever spent. I tried so hard to make the grief go away...always suggesting this and that..while I was still grieving my Dad as well...I put that on the back burner. She was never again my Old Mom....she was half a person trying to fit into the world without the other half. She did try however, after the second and third year. She got involved with some of the craft programs in her block, and she wasn't short of people she knew in the apartment block...both my aunties lived there. But that still did not fill the void. Maybe I should have backed off and given her the space she might have needed to heal...instead of trying to distract her..but I couldn't handle the sad and lonely look in her eyes and voice when I visited and phoned her...which was everyday..

Mother's and Daughter's...complicated shit....

I don't have any kids so I will never experience the bond of daughter or son.. that sometimes makes me a little sad. I don't think of it too often, because it is, what it is...I am fortunate to have great nieces and nephews...and I have advised them that when Gord and I get old, they have to drive us to Safeway every Tuesday...Seniors day... but they probably think at the end we will be the old Auntie and Uncle they expect to get an inheritance from LOL...boy are they in for a surprise!!!...I'm playin them rite now...we will spent every penny...or they will inherit our debt...

I read ms. SK's post today, had me "a cryin"...cause I know I hurt my parents too with all the shit I did when I was young. I was especially touched when she ended it in there native language (Croatian) I believe...her Mom will be so proud...

Today, I miss my mom so very much...her calmness, her softness...he momness..

And this is for you mom

lota mutta..sieviede..xx kus

No comments: