Lessons In Love: Mother Knows Best

BlogHer Original Post

Six years ago today, my mother lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 51 years old and I'd just given birth to her first grandchild six months prior. My marriage was showing signs of failure and I was dealing with being a new mom who was experiencing severe postpartum depression. Let's just say that it was one of the most difficult periods in my entire life. 


Girl with Mother

Image: Dr-Tr via Flickr


Each year, I find myself focusing on one specific aspect of our relationship and this year, her relationship advice resonates with me the most. While we had a rather tumultuous relationship, we connected every now and then and when we did, the impact was often life-changing. At least for me.

When I first met my ex-husband, I was beginning to get settled into my life as an adult. I'd graduated college, found my own place to live, and I'd begun to establish myself in my career field. I'd dated a bit, been through various disappointments, and couldn't really find much positive to boast about in that area. I was beginning to think that maybe I'd never find someone to love, settle down with, and share my days being happy. Then I met him and every fear I had came to the surface.

I expressed my fears and doubts to my mother, via email. Because of how our relationship had developed over the most recent years, I kept my distance from her and her home. I preferred texts and emails over phone calls and visits. I think we both felt safer and more comfortable being honest with this form of communication, so it worked for us. One day, I received an email that I'm glad I never deleted. A couple of months ago, I was going through old emails and discovered this one:


Mom Email
Image: Feminista Jones


Sunday, May 22, 2005 9:01 pm


Just remember to not take from past relationships into current ones. When you leave one, you should close that door and never open it again. Yet...sometimes things do come up that we have no control over whether it's a friend forgetting to tell us about a time change in schedule. So just keep an open mind and know that this is a new relationship that has nothing to do with the previous ones... Take every moment as it comes and cherish it. Don't look into the future because it's already written...we just have to play it out as it comes. Remember the smile on his face as he says he loves you... know that it's genuine. Just remember the subtle things that he does...just because he wants yo and not because he feels he has to. Just know that there are no expectations...and that is the best expectation of all.


"Truly Blessed!"

This email came almost eight years ago. One six-year-old son, one marriage ending in divorce, two jobs, and one, almost two, graduate degrees ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it because since my divorce, I've been worried about my capacity to love again. I've only truly been deeply and mutually in love one time in my life, and I recognize that, to be in my mid-30s, I might be a bit behind the curve. Again, my life experiences, particularly those connected to why my mother and I had such an odd relationship, didn't allow for a lot of room to let love plant itself and grow abundantly. Letting go, then, became one of the scariest things I would ever do, but I did it. I did it because I'd received advice from my mother that proved to me that, after all of the years of questioning and wondering, she loved me. 


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