Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blue Hawaii

I have been blue all week, a deep sadness welling up inside me at random moments. It has really caught me off guard. No surprise that I also lost my voice this week.

One of the triggers is that tomorrow is Grandparent’s day at Evan’s school. They had to write and talk about it all week, and tomorrow the kids’ grandparents are coming to class for a celebration. This upset me. What about all the little kids who will have no one there for them tomorrow, like my son? Troy’s parents are in New Mexico, and my Dad is in Texas, and then there’s my mother who lives only twenty minutes away but doesn’t know Evan at all.

And perhaps the true source of my sadness, I just found out, through the grapevine, that my mother is moving to Hawaii next week.

My mother and I have been estranged for ten years. The rift between us was not a result of some petty squabble. In my extended family, there has been sexual impropriety, drug use and abuse, and, on the women’s part, enabling and denial. I made the choice to break the silence, and therefore break the cycle. I was rewarded for my honesty by being outcast, and then blamed for breaking up the family.

We tried to set it right again. We went to therapy, but my mother quit. She said she couldn’t afford it (then went on vacation to Costa Rica, and remodeled her house). We tried without therapists. We met in a park a few years ago to talk things through. I brought Evan who was only two at the time. My mother’s anger took on a life of its own, like a feral cat backed into a corner, hissing and clawing, and all of it directed at me. And there was sweet little Evan, witnessing it all.

I made the choice to protect my own children from that toxicity. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do. But when Grandparent’s day rolls around, it still hurts.

I realized that what I am experiencing is mourning. I still held on to a thin thread of hope for my mother and I. They say times heals…I was waiting. I kept telling myself, any day now, something’s gonna shift. But it never did, and now that she’s leaving, the thread of hope was snipped for good.

The bridge between us was not only burned, it was blown to smithereens.  This is not something that could be fixed long distance over the phone, or without professional help.

So as my mother packs her things and prepares for her new life, I am mourning the death of hope, and of possibility that things could ever be different.

I’ll give Evan pictures of his grandparents to take to school tomorrow. He may grow up without grandparent’s at his birthday parties, recitals or school events, but there is certainly no shortage of love surrounding him. As long as we have love, we can get through anything.

As for my mother, I wish her peace in her heart, and a beautiful life in paradise.
As the sun sets on our relationship, I guess there’s nothing else to say for now but…
Aloha, Mom.


  1. Hollye--I feel for you. is this a family friend that can sit in for you? someone perhaps older & involved who can be Evan's special guest? If not, why don't YOU go??????? that's what I used to do when my children were little (oddly enough, my folks were in new mexico at the time, and my in-laws were in florida)..........hope you're feeling all rosy again soon--xo Lori

  2. Two things.

    1. Her geographical move, in a sense, means nothing. My mother and I, after years of this not being so, have a wonderful relationship across the two coasts. And my cousin and her mother are estranged but live only blocks apart.

    2. I really admire how despite having some similar family of origin horror as me you have not let it paralyze you. Still were open to love and able to create a career. When my mom was as sick as she was it took all of my energy just to not be afraid to be on earth and dodge the possible landmines at every turn. The fact that it's not happening now frees up a lot of energy but there's still a lot of patterns to reconfigure and damage to recover from.

    We love you Holl. Keep on truckin'.

  3. oh my sweet friend. I am so sorry. grief and loss are always. grief and loss no matter who, what or why. you are a remarkable human doubt about it...know you are loved.

  4. So sorry to hear about your blues. I think on these days at school anyone can bring someone close to them. Some might not even have grandparents alive as well. Hope the distance in miles will not hold you back from someday resolving this with your Mom but only if it doesn't make you the "bad" person or wrong doer. Wishing you a happier week.

  5. One of the hardest things about being an adult is acting like one. It's especially hard when the people who are supposed to be our role models don't take it seriously, and we, and the rest of the world, see them in their true light. It's hard to realize that our parents are human, and that we may not like them very much or even wonder how we could be of the same blood. Last week my college student interns were telling me how their parents call and ask THEM for money! I couldn't understand why parents would do that to their children. I agree that if you can find someone for your son who ACTS like a grandparent, that would be perfect. Be strong.

  6. Thank you so much everyone. Your encouragement means the world. I really paused a long time before posting this, but now I see, so many of you out there are in the same boat and can relate. Thank YOU!
    And yes, Bill, I'm truckin' along....because really, what choice do we have? Life dishes out it's crazy, and we get to decide what to do with it.
    Good idea Lori and Mamawolfe. Maybe I will show up as my own parent...I always was anyway.

  7. Dearest Hollye...the bond between a mother and daughter is heart wrenching, even at its best. We search for so much in the comfort of a mother. When they flounder, we ask why, when they embrace us, we forget their mistakes. We carry their judgements around like giant weights...but at the end of the day, after you've given all you have, that alone must suffice...for as a mother yourself, you are the keeper of souls with a flock of your own to attend to. The pain and longing only exists now to strengthen your will to break the cycle...and you have done that with so much grace, compassion and love. We are all responsible and accountable for our choices...not even those closest to our hearts can tame the anger of the past. So whatever demons lurk within, whatever her story is that brought her to this place, is now a web only she alone can unweave. Let your hope be a stepping stone for your own children, so that they might have one less hope to long for. In spite of all you have endured, look at you now...a beautiful, courageous, talented and loving...mother, wife and friend...a caretaker of souls. You have broken the cycle. That, my friend, is the strongest of traits. Yes, you are loved and you love in return...with such passion!!! Continue to be have the support system to carry you through and enough love to ease the pain.

    Love you, Georgie ♥

  8. Thank you Georgie. I know you understand the complicated Mother-daughter dance too well. xoxo


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