Below you can find another chapter from the book Thank you, mum. I hope it touches your heart.
(For the Swedish version, scroll down and then select Next post.)
From my early childhood, I can remember our Friday and Saturday evenings full of laughter, fun and frolics. But as the hours passed and more wine was consumed, painful memories seemed to come flooding back and invariably resulted in tears.
You had so much baggage to work through; rape, mistreatment by doctors that lead to a stoma and years of other traumas. You were young during a time when visiting therapists or counsellors was not the done thing. Instead, you coped with your demons by simply letting them out at weekends. Using the wine to open the floodgate and using Dad as the gatekeeper, your demons came out to play. Dad did his best, trying to kill them off, he wanted nothing more than to take on your pain so you didn’t have to suffer.
I saw your pain, heard your cries and had absolutely no idea what to do. What can a little girl do when her Mum is sad and there seems to be no end to the agony? I chose to become an ice princess; chose to ignore or avoid anything to do with emotional reactions or tears. It certainly had its advantages. No one can get to you if you’re an ice princess, no matter how hard they try. Teasing someone who doesn’t react is not much fun and really getting to someone who’s not bothered is impossible. I turned invincible and mastered the skill of silencing irritating people with a sharp, icy stare.
When you eventually sought professional help, it wasn’t professional. The counsellors you talked to weren’t adequately qualified or experienced. When you told them your story, they were taken aback and said these were difficult issues, not their usual remit. I am pleased I managed to find a psychologist, who could help you to at least make a start in the right direction. He was a tutor of mine from Chalmers University and I had studied his leadership course. When you started to suffer from depression, I rifled through my old papers and found his name. You visited him and he helped you, even though the depression didn’t disappear, at least it took a break. Not even the true professionals can kill off other people’s demons.
Thank you for trying to cope with them and manage them. Thank you for giving me a reason to be an ice princess for a couple of decades. Thank you to me for letting her melt, one icicle at a time. Thank you to me for learning how to let my emotions out instead of bottling them up and wedging them inside my body like heavy boulders. I let myself miss you, I let my grief and loss pour out and wash over me. Like a surging wave that comes and goes. The kind of wave you wanted to protect me from when I was a child. Waves I protected myself from by turning them into ice. Rolling ripples I now dare to embrace; I let them come and I let them go.
I have learned that, after a surge of grief, a calmer sea will follow. A tranquil, mirror-like surface, glittering with the beautiful memories I have of you.
Please share this blogpost if you think it can help someone!
This was a chapter from the book Thank you, mum. A book for those who miss someone.
If you would like to give the book to someone you think can be soothed by it, or to yourself, you can find it on Amazon on any of the links below, or you can search for it on your Amazon of choice.
Amazon in the Netherlands (if the price of the paperback is higher than about 17 euros, check out another market)