Eulogy for my mother, one year late

Rosalie2When my mother died on December 19 of last year (2012) I had very little to say about her.  I wrote a post right after her death but it was more about me and my relationship with her.  I was exhausted from her illness and the challenges that surrounded it, and could find very little that was positive to say.

When we started cleaning out her house I found boxes of old photographs and started to piece together a picture of my mother that changed the way I felt about her.  She was an extremely complex individual and difficult to get along with, with a lifetime of depression.  But she was also funny and charming and her life could have turned out very differently if she had made different choices.  Over the past year I’ve had two dreams in which I saw her without the burdens of her depression and anger and despair: as a childlike and innocent soul who is hopeful and pleased by the smallest of things.  My own rage at her dysfunction has fallen away and I can now write a proper euology.

grandparentsMy mother was born Rosalie Bernstein on June 25, 1927 (for you astrologers, I rectified her birth time to 1 am, Bronx NY).  Her parents had come from Europe to escape persecution: her mother from Poland and her father from Russia.  The legend was that they met on the boat, but I don’t know if that was really true.  In any case, within a few years they had moved to Pennsylvania where they settled in Altoona.

My mom on the left

My mom on the left

Rosalie’s parents made a good living in the retail business, and even after the stock market crash and during the depression it appears that they remained comfortable.  Sally, my grandmother (whose name may have been Chana but we can’t be sure) had come to the US with her brother, and in 1933 the rest of the family came from Poland to the US.  One of the treasures I found in my mother’s house was an old canof film that turned out to be film from this family return, along with clips of my mother as a child.  Sadly, the family didn’t like living in America and returned to Poland.

In 1939 Hitler invaded Poland and shortly thereafter my grandmother’s family were all killed in the camps.  The family legend was that my grandmother was mean and cold, but in these old movies she was loving and affectionate and clearly devoted to her family.   The murder of her parents and brothers and sisters, including a favorite sister with whom she was very close, must have changed her forever, leaving  Rosalie with a lifetime of sadness and rejection.

Rosalie1Rosalie was intelligent and charming, and loved to play the violin.  Her younger sister wrote in an autobiography we found that Rosalie had all of the intelligence and charisma in the family, but Rosalie always felt that her sister was the favorite.  This competition for maternal love that had been withdrawn and never returned became a pattern that continued down into the next generation.  Still, after high school Rosalie moved to New York City to follow the single girl’s dream of the time, working as a secretary and enjoying concerts and an active social life.

I’ll skip over the bad marriage and the two kids, of which I was one, and jump to her later life when she met a wonderful man who became her second husband.  He was devoted to her and clearly understood her moods and imbalances, and faithfully remained her greatest defender.  Sadly, this did not fill the aching hole in her heart. She was never able to really believe that she was loved, by her husband, her children, or her friends.

Rosalie3Perhaps it was the watery Grand Trine in her chart that made everything in her life so easy and encouraged her to be lazy, a fault to which she would often and easily admit.  But as she aged and things didn’t come to her so easily – she failed to get the job she wanted and the admiration around her started to fade, her depression increased and she became more miserable.

After he died she moved to North Carolina to live near me and the rest is history.  Perhaps it was watching my mother fail to achieve her dreams that inspired me to become an achiever and then to dedicate my life to helping others to realize their goals and clarify their vision for their life.  I loved my mother fiercely although the anger we felt towards each other often clouded that love and made it difficult for both of us.

I’m grateful for the dreams I’ve had since her death which have opened up my heart to her and shown me that she has indeed found some peace.  I feel now that for the first time in my life I can see her as a three-dimensional person, not just my mother and the veil through which I observed her throughout my life.

 

No Responses to “Eulogy for my mother, one year late”

  1. KathieDecember 20, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you for this very personal sharing. I can feel your healing as you wrote this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. BethDecember 20, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Beautiful eulogy. God bless.

  3. Valerie BEDecember 20, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Thank you for this generous and thoughtful offering, Lynn. My mother is still alive and I struggle with similar issues in our relationship. I’ve found in recent years that seeing her as a fellow soul, whose life purpose often seems to elude her, helps me find understanding and compassion. I also find resonance in the view that as souls, we came in to work together and that this uneasy relationship is part of that work. May we all be blessed in our journey of learning.

  4. Liz Wodarski StrauseDecember 20, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    peace and joy and love and light to you, oh Polish sister of sadness and loss. my very deepest condolences to you and yours. your work brings so much clarity and joy to the world. know that your ancestors who went back to Poland love you very much & i hope you take comfort in knowing despite the difficulties of your lineage and the horrible, terrible loss of so many of your relatives that the beauty of the Polish spirit shines through you in so many ways. shanti shanti shalom to you. peace.

  5. JillDecember 20, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Wonderful tribute, Lynn. As you know I haven’t exactly had much time to think about Mom lo these last eight months or so, though I did remember that yesterday was her yahrzeit. Alas, when one has cats one cannot light a yahrzeit candle. I suspect I will probably write something very similar to this on October 5 of next year, though without the dream visits, alas.

    Anyway, some clarifications to the history. There were three brothers who stayed here — Joe, Jack, and Harry. All married and had children. I met Jack a few times and Joe and Harry at Harry’s daughter’s wedding a long, long time ago. Jack was kind of a ladies’ man. He reminded me of Maurice Chevalier. Mom called him a roué. I do know that the others went back. Sally must have been very close to at least one of the sisters because it was not as if she had no one here. But it is clear that something happened somewhere along the way to change her. It helps in understanding Mom to think about her seeing her mother change from being affectionate to being the monster of our family’s oral history (though I did see some of her monstrousness in action in the infamous Thanksgiving Dinner Of Nineteen-Eighty-Something).

    I wrote in the immediate aftermath last year:

    http://brilliantatbreakfast.blogspot.com/2012/12/christmas-2012.html

    Yours is better. :-)

  6. Susan MorganDecember 20, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Lynn,
    What a wonderful, heartfelt tribute… no surprise it took you a year after losing your Mom to write it. Lucky you to have dreams that have helped clarify things.

    I find myself in a very similar situation to yours in that I am close to my own mother who is dealing with a 20+ year cancer battle, and wasting away as we speak. I am the only nurturer she has (Dad is also ill, and never been a good caretaker), and have (more times than I care to count) stepped in and taken charge of caring for her. Most days I manage by remembering there is a unique soul inside that faltering body, and thinking about how I would like to be treated in similar circumstances. That helps.

    Sometimes it’s just too much… I’m sure I can’t go on another minute… but somehow I do. I credit a loving, super supportive husband and children, some great friends and sheer, dumb luck for keeping me sane.

    Thanks for sharing your very personal story with us. It helps.

  7. CeciliaDecember 20, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Thank you for your beautiful post about your mom. I lost my mom in 2011 and she and I did not get along well. She had issues from growing up during the Spanish Civil War and it affected her personality. It was not until she died that I could be aware of her as a person first, and my mother second. She has been very generous in her “messages” to me and like you I’m comforted that she is at peace and whole again, not the frail little old lady that she was at the end. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful story.

  8. luanaDecember 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    This is beautiful, Lynn, and gave me goosebumps. Blessings to you, your sister and your mother. Life is indeed beautiful.

  9. Greg FDecember 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Lynn. I had a rough relationship with my mother too, and I appreciate your candid comments on the anniversary of your mom’s passing. My mother died on December 26, 1998, so that is pretty close in date.

    Another bit of synchronicity here: my mother’s youngest sister was named Rosalie, and her birthday was October 12, 1942. What do you think of that? :-)

    Blessings and lots of love for the coming holiday season. I’m glad to know you, “sister.”

  10. KaDDecember 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand.
    The sun goes down but gentle warmth still lingers on the land.
    The music stops but echoes on in sweet refrains-
    for everything that passes, something beautiful remains.

  11. LindaDecember 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Thank you for everything you have taught us. We Love You

  12. JuliaDecember 21, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    What a lovely eulogy, Lynn! God Bless you.

    • Lynn HayesDecember 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Thank you all for your beautiful comments and to my sister Jill for clarification. KaD, beautiful poem – thank you! I will keep that for future inspiration posts. And Greg, that is crazy synchronicity. Really. How weird.

      Anyway – I’m blessed to have such wonderful readers, and grateful every day for all of you!

  13. roderick2012December 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Wow Lynn, your family history sounds fascinating.

    One of the reasons that I believe I instinctively sought out astrology as a child was an attempt to make sense of my dysfunctional family more specifically my odd relationship with my parents.

    I have a similar relationship with my mom. She’s a Scorpio sun and as you know I am a Taurus sun so our relationship centers around money as the Taurus/Scorpio polarity axis would suggest.

    My father was an Aquarius sun so you can only image what their relationship was like.

    When I was growing up it seems to almost kill my mom to buy anything for me and when she did it obviously she did so grudgingly.

    What I find interesting is that my mom is very generous with anyone but me and it almost seems that she expects me to pay her back for her giving to others.

    Although my mom has never seemed to support me financially or emotionally I grew up around my maternal grandparents and witnessed the abuse (emotional and verbal) that my maternal grandmother heaped upon my mom so there is a part of me that understands and makes excuses for my mom’s inability to never be able to bond with me emotionally, but sometimes I still wonder why God gave me two parents neither of whom should have had children.

    What’s interesting is whenever I vent to other people ( usually complete strangers) -they always defend her reminding me that my mom won’t always be with me although my maternal grandmother passed at 97 two years ago and my mom just turned 73 this past Halloween (so it will just seem like forever, LOL).

    • Lynn HayesDecember 27, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Roderick, I don’t remember your chart but it would be interesting to see what’s there. These familial relationships are so complex but they are nearly always shown in the chart to one extent or another. And that means that we come into this life predisposed to have these experiences. When you have a difficult chart it’s hard to imagine why on earth we ever would have chosen it, but I’ve seen over and over that tucked into the complexity of the painful chart are the keys to getting through it and coming out the other side. Still I feel for you and understand very well what you are going through! Getting some distance can help sometimes if you can.

      • roderick2012December 28, 2013 at 2:18 am #

        Thanks for responding Lynn.

        I think I have a horrible chart. First and worst is that I have Saturn in early Gemini in the 10th just past the midheaven and it’s weird because my real name means ‘responsible’ or ‘noble’ and for whatever reason people tell me their problems whether I care or not. LOL

        I have Neptune in mid Sag in the 4th house of family.

        As far as not living close to my mom I live in Florida while my mom and the rest of her side of the family lives in Mississippi so I do have some distance from them.

        I found it interesting that you stated that you believe that the modern ruler of Virgo should be Chiron because I have a Virgo ascendant and I have Mercury and Chiron in the 8th house both in late Aries so either way the ruler of my chart would in Scorpio’s house of sex, death and rebirth.

        I also remember that you mentioned that the modern ruler of Taurus should be the Earth and not Venus.

        Can you write a column expounding on why you believe that the modern ruling planets of Virgo and Taurus should be Chiron and the Earth respectively?

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