“I never wanted to be my mother”, was how I started her eulogy a couple of weeks ago. I’m told it was good, with just the right mix of humor and emotions. The process of writing about my Mom was interesting as well as a bit healing; Yes, from a grief perspective and additionally it triggered something awake in me again. The age-old question about, “Who am I?”
Sure, you’ll find all sorts of answers out there. Look at your faith. Look at your family. Look at your work. These things and more can help you start putting your own branding around how your world sees you.
But it may not help you put words around how you see yourself.
Here I am thinking of every motivation quote, every analogy, parable, and mechanism I have in my tool box to perform a bit of a progress check. Am I where I wanted to be, who I wanted to be?
Breath leaves me for a second and I feel different. I have spent the entirety of my adult life, living with a major situation in the back of my head…and now it is gone. Yesterday, I was thinking about grilling for Labor Day and realized I hadn’t called my Mom to set up a schedule to get her to my house. Even writing this, in this moment, my breath starts coming shorter. This is the part that gets strange for me and I don’t know if my words can translate.
I don’t grieve because of my loss. I honestly feel she is in a better place and am happy for that. The hole in my life is because I’ve always had her to take care of. I was always planning for when “that call” would come and now it has passed.
Anxious. Free. Guilty. Available. All these emotions at once. I can feel myself redefining my own perceptions of the world around me. I can feel my perception of myself stretching out, trying to expand into the newfound space in my head and my heart.
Who am I now? I still have a whole lot of baggage from my other struggles – being bullied in my youth, parents’ divorce, family histories, alcohol, flooded house. They all can describe parts of my life, but are they who I am allowed to be?
Who am I now? I don’t know, but I have a plan. Mechanisms in me have been built for specific reasons, I just need to retool them into new machines that will help me find a path.
I’m not really any different than I was. Just looking at the world differently.
Who I am now…