This is the first Mothering Matters blog in the spring 2020 blog series.
Connecting Through Memories – Real or Imagined
“Healing takes place when openness unconditionally and tenderly embraces the past.”
– John de Ruiter
What is your relationship with your mom like?
The relationship I had with my Mom was complicated…like many mother-and-grown-daughter relationships, I suspect.
My Mom passed away six years ago, at the age of 88. She died quite suddenly (as the result of complications after hip surgery) so her death came as a shock.
Although I was very saddened by her passing and missed her dearly, I also understood that because of her declining health, if she had lived – the quality of life in her remaining years would not have been great. True to character, she exited stage left when the show was as good as over. And I think this helped me accept her death fairly quickly.
In terms of our relationship at the time of her passing, we were in pretty good shape. Now, if she had died three months earlier, I would NOT be able say that! We’d had one heck of a blow-out (over a birthday card, of all things…or lack thereof, rather). Thankfully, we’d worked our way through that little incident 😊
In this particular blog – the first of the spring 2020 Mothering Matters blog series – I wanted to share with you a wonderful experience I had recently, writing a scene in a screenplay. Through our memories and imagination, I think we have a tremendous capacity to connect with people we have loved, but who have passed on. Click To Tweet
Despite the difficult subject matter, I absolutely loved writing this scene. I swear I could feel my Mom, there in my imagination, as I wrote the dialogue:
Please click here to read the The Sword & the Stone scene from “The Pooh Stone” script (I am “Alex”).
But here’s the weird thing: that is NOT how that conversation unfolded in real life!
This version (excerpt from “A Widow’s Awakening”) is much closer to how it actually went down:
After tea, I head into my bedroom to start some serious grieving. I’m curled up in the fetal position, with Sasha at the foot of my bed, when my mom comes in the room.
She sits beside Sasha and squeezes my foot. “Oh, Bigoo…”
This is the long-form version of my nickname.
“I just came up to tell you that I’m going home,” she says. “But I don’t have to.”
“No mom, that’s OK.”
“I can stay overnight. Your brother is staying over — but I can too, if you like.”
I still haven’t uncurled myself from the ball I’m in. “Nah, I’m fine.”
She gets up, walks over and touches my cheek with the back of her hand. “I love you very much. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.”
My tears spill over my nose onto the pillow. “I know.”
“I’ll help you any way I can, OK?”
“I’m gonna be all right, mom…some day.”
She leans over and kisses me then walks out, softly shutting the door behind her.
As a creative writer, my job is to tell a story that that gets to the essence of the truth of any given situation – not necessarily recreate an event or conversation as it actually happened in real life.
But as I mentioned in a recent blog, there are parts of ourselves and truths about ourselves that may not be accessible for creative purposes…until healing has taken place. Likewise, I think there are relationships – such as the one I had with my mom – that we are not fully able to understand, or appreciate, until healing has taken place.
And what I learned while writing the “Sword and the Stone” scene in the screenplay is that when the passage of time has softened the more difficult memories of a complicated human relationship – such as the one I had with my Mom – what is left is the love.
No…in real life, three days after my 32-year old husband died, my Mom did not remind me how much I loved “The Sword in the Stone” book when I was a kid. But that book was, in fact, my favourite book…so somebody had to have read it me, bedtime after bedtime! Chances are very good it was my Mom.
And no…my Mom did not compare me to young King Arthur who found the strength to pull the sword from the stone when the time came for him to step up to the plate. But because of the way my mother raised me, she had made damn sure I was strong enough to handle the biggest crisis of my life when the time came. Click To Tweet
And THAT, I think, is one of the greatest gifts a mother can give a daughter.
What super power did your Mom give you…intentionally or inadvertently?
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive her regular weekly blog, Weekly Words of Wisdom, please sign up here.
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