Prayer, suffering, life, courage, help, bear, illness, mental, physical,

My mother’s death

 

Last night, my mother died peacefully in her sleep. She was 102, and had been increasingly deaf, blind, bedridden, incontinent and confused for the last few years.  

On hearing the news early this morning, my initial reaction was one of relief that she isn’t suffering any more, though it’s too early to tell what feelings I might have in the longer term about her. I’ve spent many years in therapy working on the consequences of her behaviour towards me, so hopefully that will now help me to cope with her death.

My mother was a complicated, intelligent, energetic and demanding woman. She was very controlling, dominating, angry, frustrated, and emotionally abusive. Throughout, and beyond, my childhood, her unpredictable, explosive rages were utterly terrifying. During these uncontrolled episodes she was verbally aggressive towards those present, and could be could be violent and destructive towards objects nearby.

She was also a very selfish, manipulative and egotistical woman. Despite the efforts I made as an adult to talk to her about her behaviour, and the ways in which it has affected me, she always minimised it, never acknowledging, or apologising for, all the damage she caused.

Recently, I’ve been trying to forget the bad things she did, and to remember instead the good things about my childhood. However, the positives are so few, so undependable, and so short-lived, that I quickly gave up the effort, which felt artificial and unhelpful. 

Well, none of us is perfect. We all have many faults, including me. Fortunately, I started working hard to forgive my mother several years ago, and have continued to pray for her, and try to forgive her, every day. 

Some months ago, I spoke to her privately for the last time about her behaviour, its effects, and my forgiveness. However, by then, she was incapable of replying. I’m glad, though, that I was able to be completely honest with her, after a lifetime of anxiety, fear, dread, panic attacks, depression and physical illness caused by her abuse. May she rest in peace, at last.

 

References

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34; NLT).

We have all sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:20; NLT).

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Prayer, suffering, life, courage, help, bear, illness, mental, physical,

Emotional abuse

 

Lord,

Every day
I’m still affected

By the consequences
Of my mother’s emotional abuse –

Depression, 
Anxiety,
And fear;

Low self-esteem, 
Panic, 
And dread.

So every day
Brings me fresh opportunities
To forgive her.

…………………………………………….

References

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:21-2; NLT). 

If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15; NIV).

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us (Luke 11:4; NIV).

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Prayer, suffering, life, courage, help, bear, illness, mental, physical,

I cannot love my mother

Honour your father and mother (Exodus 20:12; NLT).

Love your neighbour (Mark 12:31; NLT).

Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

Love ye therefore the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; KJV).

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2; NIV).

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Lord,

I cannot love my mother
As a parent,
Because of her
Emotional abuse.

Nor can I ever love her
As a neighbour,
For we cannot agree
A basic truce.

I cannot even love her
As a foe, Lord,
Though you’d think that would be
Just what I could do.

So instead, I try to love her
As a stranger,
And as if that stranger, Lord my God,
Is you.

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agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, cycling,, Prayer

Agoraphobia diary: 6pm on day 5

So, today is drawing to a close, and it’s been quite hard in some ways. Trigger alert: if you don’t like mild references to the effects of childhood emotional abuse, now is the time to do something else.

After an early start, I said goodbye to my family, then travelled up to Leicestershire, with my son driving. It was interesting to note that I felt fine until I saw the first sign for the town where I was brought up, when a sharp pang of anxiety automatically shot through me.

My sister and her husband made us very welcome for lunch, then my son left, and I fell asleep, very tired after the cumulative efforts of the previous few days.

Then came the hardest part of the day: visiting my mother in her nursing home. I was alone with her for about 40 minutes. She never leaves her bed, and slept the whole time, so I sat quietly, observing both her, and my own feelings. Even though she is very old, deaf, immobile and blind, I still dreaded her waking up, or speaking, still felt she might rise up and be as she used to be. I didn’t touch her, approach her, or speak to her, but tried to pray.

My sister returned exactly when she had promised, and I left the Home with relief. Tomorrow may be harder, as I’m imagining that a cheerful staff member with a loud voice might rouse my mother. She’s so deaf that people have to shout into her ear, and that means getting close. However, I have developed the technique of keeping my arms behind my back, so she can’t get hold of me in any way. That has given me a small sense of retaining some control over allowing her to intrude on my body.

I honestly don’t know how I’d manage if it weren’t for the progress I’ve made through faith and contemplation. So for those who like such things, here is today’s evening prayer:

Facing each day

The same Spirit gives great faith to another (1 Corinthians 12:9; NLT).

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8; NIV).

*********************************

Lord,
Facing each day
With you

Is very different
From facing it
Without you;

So, thank you
For the gift
Of faith in you.

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