My SO and I just got back from seeing two movies, “The Imitation Game” and “Wild.” We saw TIG first and thought it excellent all the way around. Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want to know anything about the movie before you see it, though I don’t believe it’s a secret if you’ve read anything about Alan Turing. Mr. Turing made the first computer to crack German code and stopped WWII two years early, saving thousands of lives. It’s hard to believe that the Queen just pardoned him in 2013 for “illegal homosexual acts” performed back in the 30s. Today, the UK has gay marriage. I thought about that when the last lines crossed the screen explaining that Turing committed suicide after being found guilty of said acts after choosing to take meds to castrate himself (a “cure” for being gay back then) instead of facing prison. How far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go.
What I found myself thinking about mostly, however, was the movie “Wild.” I read the book in the spring and couldn’t wait for the movie. I won’t spoil it by telling you much, but it brought me back a time in my life when I experienced a death that rocked my world to its core. Author Cheryl Strayed said her mother was the “love of her life” and I feel the same way. I remember not crying much when my mother died while I was lying beside her. I was able to hold back tears during her funeral, mostly because I had a firm grasp on my beliefs (God is all-powerful and all-loving and that we don’t “die,” we just change form). That gave me great comfort. Also, I firmly believed that if I had shed ONE tear, I truly would have never stopped. Three years after her death I realized that I was showing signs of depression. I would not consider myself a depressed person, save for situations that make me sad for a fairly short period of time. But because of what, my constitution?, I was really shocked that I needed help, especially three years later. Cheryl Strayed walked the Pacific Coast Trail after she lost her mother. I took antidepressants. I wish I had known about the PCT, though she was much braver than I would have been.
This summer was eleven years since my mother’s passing. She was the second family member I was with when they died (my sister and dad the third and fourth, respectively) and I considered it a privilege beyond measure each time, though excruciatingly hard on the psyche and the soul. “Wild” brought all those I MISS AND ADORE AND LOVE MY MOTHER LIKE NO OTHER HUMAN BEING ON THE FACE OF THIS PLANET feelings: hard but ok. To me, mothers are in a different category than are best friends, sisters or even your partner, no matter how wonderful they are. I know that there’s not another person on this earth that can/could/would love me with the unconditional love my mother gave me. I also know that many don’t have a parent they can say this about and that makes me very sad for them. (If that’s you, it’s ok. You can tell me “fuck you.” I get it.)
I was carved out of my mother’s love. Like a strong branch, she whittled me to life by showing me how to be in this world. She formed my character out of respect for my elders and for myself. She shaped my heart early on with talks about loving and respecting others, no matter the color of their skin. She cut a few ties that bound our mother-daughter relationship: she let me make my own mistakes so that I would know the responsibilities that came with the freedom of choices that I would make. I came to being because I was chosen by her and I believe I chose her as well. There is a bond between us that death cannot separate no matter how often I don’t feel her spirit around me, no matter how much I talk to her in my head, no matter how often I ask her for advice or hope she gives me a sign. She is always with me.
Yes, I was carved from my mother’s love. I am Lucille’s daughter and I only hope that I am worthy of what she carved. Thanks, Cheryl Strayed, for bringing me back to remembering her…to remembering My Love.