My mom died 8 years ago. My sister and two brothers still grieve her death. I feel nothing but relief. I used to feel very guilty about this, but I have since come realize that we had different mothers. The same woman gave birth to us and raised us, but I feel like we had different “mothers.” My parents were beautiful and popular people. Being handsome and popular came very naturally to my father despite the fact that he was somewhat of an introvert. He was just naturally very likable. Mom, on the other hand, was anxious to be beautiful and loved. She was always on a diet and was very conscious of wearing make-up and looking the part. I think it was always her goal to have beautiful and popular children. My sister and brother surpassed her wishes in every way. My sister was athletic, pretty, funny, popular, and had many boyfriends. My brothers were gorgeous, excelled in every sport, hilarious, and adored by all the girls. I was heavy, had acne, born with a bad eye, painfully shy, not sporty, and woefully unpopular. While the other three kids were outside being outstandingly popular, I was in my room reading book (which I loved!) My mother was mortified that I was ugly and shy. It seems like she spent my whole life trying to “fix” me instead of just loving me. So, until the day she died (when her last words to me were “I don’t want to hear your voice anymore”) all I can think about is that she loved my sister and brothers unconditionally, and that I was a chronic disappointment.
This is especially hard for me take when I think that I was always an excellent student. I was the only one of us for kids who earned a free ride academic scholarship to college as well a full-tuition scholarship to law school. I have an undergraduate and masters degree in accounting, a CPA, and a law degree. I have earned multiple teaching awards, and I have married a man who says he “wants to spend the rest of his life proving himself worthy of me.” All my mom worried about at our wedding was whether or not I was going to wear make-up. She was embarrassed when I gave up practicing tax law to teach at the university because she thought being a professor was not as prestigious as being an attorney. I never remember truly feeling like she really loved me or was proud of me. I was always on guard around her waiting for the next criticism. Why would I miss her?
I think my sister and brothers think I am cold-hearted for feeling how I feel, so I don’t really talk about it. I suspect they feel badly that they kids have lost a grandmother. I don’t think they can ever understand how growing up like I did can affect a person. I am also not sure they care.