This may sound ridiculous, but for the first time in my life I know for a fact that my mother loves me.
I spent 99% of my entire life wondering why my mother didn’t love me. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what I’d done to make her dislike me so much. I struggled every day of my adult life trying to make her love me and see me for who I really was, not who she had made me out to be.
The fact of the matter, as sad as it may sound, is that she found nothing in me that she liked or respected. She honestly thought I was a loser and a lost cause. She constantly berated me for being “too sensitive” or emotional, and she despised my goofy side as she was much too mature and serious for things that were silly. She never thought I was smart enough to amount to anything special, not even after producing straight A’s in high school, or making the Dean’s List in college, or getting my novel published. She didn’t approve of any choices I made in my life, and found unique and cutting ways to tear me down at any chance she could find.
We spent the majority of our lives arguing and fighting, sometimes not talking for up to two years. She seemed to enjoy belittling me in front of my friends and always made me feel as if everyone else around me was far more superior than I could ever dream of being. She went out of her way to make sure to complain about anything and everything I ever did—even the good things.
When my oldest son, Josh, was growing up, she favored him over me and pitted us apart continually. She reduced me to nothing in his eyes by overriding any important decisions I would make concerning his life. She gave him all the love, attention, and affection I craved from her my whole life. She never let me forget that he was her favorite. She went out of her way to make sure I knew exactly where I stood, and eventually where my youngest son, Tavin, would stand. She even said to me when I told her we were having a boy again, “Just so you know, nothing and no one will EVER replace Josh.” There it was. Tavin wouldn’t mean much to her as long as he was a boy.
It all sounds so horrible, doesn’t it?
The past few years, though, were much better. Had it not been for the cancer eating away at her insides, her heart may have never been found. That’s just the sad reality of this horrific story of my life. Ask anyone who knew my mother before the cancer, and they can “tell you stories.”
One day, nearly four years ago, after a week’s worth of constant fighting and back and forth nonsense, I had finally had it and told my husband, “She’s dying. And for all I care, she can die alone.” That’s how awful she was being to me and I just couldn’t take it anymore. And then it dawned on me: she’s dying and she could die alone. Regardless of everything, she was still my mother and I loved her. So I confronted her and called her out on everything she had done to hurt me over the years. We eventually ended up crying and realizing…this was it. We either ended this maddening cycle and recovered most of what we’d lost over the years, or we could just go on, business as usual, hating each other until the day she died.
I used to think my life would be better off without her. Now I can’t imagine not having her in my life…
The last few years have been bittersweet. To see my mother change the way she did, and the way she tried so hard to respect me and love me, although it didn’t come easy, was astounding. She eventually wanted to do things with me, which she never had before. She tried new things with me, like going to the Harbor Market and the museum. She would call at night just to say, “Hey, how’s it going?” or to tell me about a movie on the old movie channels. But I knew it would all end so very soon. All this love and compassion. It was all too brief, but I still cherished every second of it, even though my heart was breaking.
And then just a few months ago we had that very odd warm weather in March. We had just started going to church together again, and something in my mom changed. Everything about her changed. I went over to her house one night and she ended up sitting next to me on the couch—something she NEVER did! And we talked like school girls and laughed about silly things. Then she surprised me and asked me to come sit out on the porch with her because it was nice outside. (My mother NEVER did things like that!) We sat on the steps looking out into the sky, noticing how many stars were out that night. And then all of a sudden she leapt up and said, “You’ve got to see this! Come here.” And she took me to the driveway and showed me these two amazingly bright stars in the Western sky. “Look at how bright they are! They can’t be just stars. I wonder what they are,” she inquired. I told her I’d go home and look it up and let her know. And I did. It was Venus and Jupiter, on March 14th. Those stars were me and her. Me and my mother. Much like the Venus Jupiter conjunction, our two lives were finally lining up.
"Both Jupiter and Venus are very bright objects—the second and third brightest, after the moon—in the night sky, so it's not surprising a conjunction would historically always be watched with interest, simply because both are so bright that they sort of command our attention. One alone is ignorable, but both Venus and Jupiter together draw the eye."
It was only a few weeks after that experience that things would start getting worse for her, health-wise. And her mood went from peaceful to incredibly irritable and angry all over again.
Now more than ever, I know my mother truly knows me and fully loves me. She’s gone and resides in heaven. God has revealed to her the real me she resisted to know here on earth. She is finally proud of me and believes in me like never before. For the first time in my life, I no longer need to prove anything to her anymore, because she “gets me” now. I can’t even begin to explain how comforting that is to me.
It took my mother’s death for me to honestly feel my mother’s love for the first time in my life, the way I’ve always wanted her to love me. And now I’ll never have to question my mother’s love, ever again.
We are Jupiter and Venus, aligning in the night sky.