Roseleen is my mother’s name, but most people called her Rose, like the beautiful flower. She is on her own now as my father passed a few years back. Since my father’s passing I have noticed much change in my mother: she seems more at peace with herself and the time and space she has now to ‘be’ with herself is something she’s never had before.
My mother has had a hard and difficult life. She raised six children and worked full time. My father stopped working when I was growing up, so my mother went out to work. On top of being the breadwinner, she still did all the cooking, cleaning and shopping; she took it all on. This created an imbalance in the relationship with my father.
How My Mother Coped
My mother had two ‘pleasures’; smoking and alcohol. In the beginning when she started to drink alcohol I am sure this felt like a relief, and something for herself, but as the years went on she grew more and more dependent and before she knew it she was addicted and drank daily.
A few months back I went home to visit her. In the plane, just when it ascended into the air, I got overwhelmed and the tears started to flow. I remember only one thought running through my body and that was:
Take Me Home
I was on my way to Scotland, which is where I was born. But I was thinking of another home, a home I had left a long time ago…
Early next morning, I sat alone drinking tea in my mother’s living room. My mother’s house had changed so much. It was not just the change in the furniture or the lovely warm red colours she had chosen, there was a feeling of cosiness and warmth, which seemed to comfort me. In contrast I remember feeling how cold the house was when I was a child.
Then into my awareness came a beautiful ornamental angel who sat on a table with her long legs dangling down in a very playful way. Her face was beautiful, soft and delicate with rose painted lips. When I looked all around the room I saw many angels, in corners, on the wall, on the window ledge. I knew that most of them, if not all these angels, had been given to my mother.
I don’t know how I knew, but as I looked at these angels I felt a deep knowing that my mother was an angel.
I didn’t see a halo around my mother or some golden light or golden wings. What I did see after removing the outer veils of alcohol, emotions, drama and smoking that she herself had chosen, was a beautiful, tender, sweet, humble and very precious woman with a heart that was pure. This made me wonder if those friends who had given my mother the angels had also known that part of her that I too was just coming to see.
I could see clearly that these veils she chose were to numb herself from feeling:
- how disconnected she was from herself and her body
- the disregard and neglect of herself as a woman
- how she let people walk all over her
- and how hard she pushed her body.
All of this was not who she truly was.
Without the alcohol, there was not one selfish bone in her body: my mother is as precious and delicate as a soft rose petal blowing gently in the wind.
Poisons or Pleasures?
Drinking alcohol and smoking over many years has damaged her health; it shows on her face, on her skin and most of all in her eyes. It also had serious consequences for her life and that of our family’s. Yet she called them her ‘pleasures’, as do many other people. It is a huge trick we play on ourselves, renaming poisons to pleasures. For therein lies the problem, showing how very easily we deceive and fool ourselves so that we do not have to take responsibility for ‘our choices’ and the damage we do to our own bodies.
Smoking and drinking alcohol and the ugly emotions and drama that go with alcohol took my mother away from her true home, her inner heart, where her preciousness, her delicateness and her love resides, always.
On the plane that day, this was the home I was pondering on and felt I too had left this love a long time ago. But as I shared that very precious time with my mother I saw that she too had simply made choices as I had done. This powerful reflection showed to me that:
Love never leaves us, it is we who choose to leave home; the home that rests deep within us all.
I wrote this article about my mother, but the truth is, it could be anyone’s mother, sister, daughter or best friend. When we can see past the outer veils that we as women choose to wear, what is revealed is the beauty and preciousness of what is truly there in another, and with the seeing comes the reflection and the knowing that you are that too – and in truth, we are all that.
By Jacqueline McFadden – Scotland (Published with permission of Roseleen)
Drinking Alcohol – The True Picture, The True Damage