The one baby picture that my mother had of herself. And the only picture she had of her mother in her youth. This is all telling of the experiences on this side of my family.
My grandmother did not raise my mother. She died a year before I was born. My first name was hers. My mother was named after her mother’s mother who had died at 33. I remember years growing up holding silent resentments towards the grandmother I never met. Receiving the wounds showing themselves as destructive patterns of control, rejection, emotional abandonment and unhealthy attachment masked in words of Love. I once told my mother in her last few years of life, “I resent your mother because now I have to pay for the costs of that pain from you.” One day in asking my mother more questions about her mother she shared with me that she left home at 16 to move to Harlem. She was never told why by her mother. Frankly, this was just the pattern on this side of my family…a lot of unspoken pasts, experiences and identities. “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” My mother had never seen a photo of her father in life.
It wasn’t until after my mother died that I could even consider the true magnitude of what these emotional residues and ways of being meant in shaping us all as family. And more, all that this had molded in myself and the responsibility I would be called to choose for future creations and being in community, family and relationships.
I know now my mother truly did the best she could with what she knew and where she was. She gave me different experiences in education, connecting with my culture and exploring arts. She loved giving gifts and love notes. Reflecting back and hindsights allowed me to soften into what it must have been like for her to be a mother who had not experienced being held and seen fully herself.
I love my relationship with her now. It is sacred.
Since then God asks each time, “What will you ‘be’ and do with this now?”
Rewrite it. It can begin with you.
For generations to come.
Next blog post to come on tools that have helped me gradually shift my emotional and mental responses to ancestral residual patterns.