Friday, May 6, 2022

Alice Kae

Update 5/6/22

It's now been 19 years
and I cannot explain it 
any other way.

UPDATE 3/4/14

The rainbows were here again this morning
and I thought of Mom and this post and it is now
11 years she is gone.
So I am reprinting solely for me,
so that they are both consciously with me today...
just like every other day,
but when the rainbows come usually all through March
I know she is really listening.

Alice Kae and David James
I miss you

reprinted from October 2010

I'll be here in 2 months.
Scotty and my beautiful young Mom.

Most of us avoid uncomfortable topics, shy away from pain.
Facing the difficult parts of life is not a joy ride,
however, standing as testimony to our lives is vital.

It is with this intent that I join Char at Ramblings
today as several of us discuss our Life Lessons.
I have given much thought to sharing something
so intimate in such a public manner, disregarding my "normal"
blog fare but obviously have opted to do so.

Life lessons are meant to be shared.


Alice Kae
Mothers bake cookies, read you stories before bed. Mothers teach you the lessons you need to be happy. Mothers get you ready in the morning, and have snacks waiting after school. Mothers are not expected to get severely ill when you are a little girl of eight, and they are not supposed to spend more time in the hospital and bed than they do in the kitchen or even at home.

Becoming chronically ill before the age of 30 and fighting to survive for the next 40 years, changed my mother. We will never know what her life, our lives, would have become had she been well. My father once told me after a very bad period of discord between Ma and I, that he wished I could remember what she was like as a young mother. How she kept their very modest home neat and cheerful, and we were always clean and in fresh clothing.

The type of illness my mother suffered, required many years of steroids and it was not until I was well into my adulthood that I realized much of her erratic behavior was most likely the result of decades of innumerable medications. Although they kept her alive, they altered her, she became her illness. It defined her, enraged her, saddened her.

My mother and I were often volatile, though never estranged for more than a few days at a time. We lived 2000 miles apart for 30 years yet we spoke several times weekly and during difficult times, multiple times daily, as one or the other of us hung up on the other. We shared a lot of wonderful days during infrequent visits, and I bore up through many horrific days, trying to maintain a relationship with someone who I could not reason with, as she vented rage my way for a multitude of reasons.

I spent 30 years after leaving home trying to understand how we got to this place, praying and wishing and begging for a different existence with this woman who was my mother. I never failed to see her through each medical crisis, told her daily of my love for her, and never doubted that she loved me.

Loving someone is no guarantee that you will treat them kindly, with respect or with intent to make their lives easier. I wished, oh, how I wished, that things would change. I wanted Barbara Billingsley, Donna Reed, I wanted the Mom I thought I was entitled to have.

Within a week of my father's passing, and with devastating and cruel timing, my husband left, and I became a single Mom, struggling with heartbreak and fear and not at all prepared for the loneliness and demands of my mother who had miraculously outlived the man who had cared for her 40 years of medical needs. Thus began three years of constant struggle between two women, Mother and Daughter, both suffering such tremendous loss and having little tolerance for the pain of the other.

My hardest adjustment was the loss of what I knew to be true for 16 years; what was to have been my and my children's future. For my mother, who had been told since I was eight that her life was limited and each crisis was a death sentence unrealized, the suddenness of her life without her caregiver was intolerable. At her death bed three years later, gasping each breath in unbearable pain, came the words, "I just want it to be over. After all these years why does it have to be like this, be this hard." My mother had no faith, leaving this world in pain and sorrow, with a lifetime of regret and anger.

Suddenly, came the realization that there was no sense in grieving what never was; that Mother had done what she could, as she could, and from her view her life certainly had not turned out the way she had planned either. Two women united in sorrow for what could have been, should have been, in their own lives and with each other. The anger that I always felt directed at me was more likely misdirected as she railed at the universe, "why me?" Feelings I was all too familiar with. Feelings I now rejected as my legacy.

With intense clarity I envisioned that other young woman, Alice Kae, faced with devastating news that would leave her to become a different Mother than she had ever planned to be. As I sat by her bedside, holding her hand, I knew with absolute certainty that I must release the life I had planned in order to embrace the life ahead.

Seven years have passed and more often than not, joy abounds. I assume no outcomes as absolutes. My mother's lesson on happiness, unintentional though it may have been, was valued beyond measure; granting me peace, with the power of forgiveness, the power of grace.

I love you, Mom.

reprinted from May 19, 2010

Today my Mom has been gone 7 years. I've been struggling with what to write about Mom because our relationship was complicated. That is putting it mildly. I can hear my close friends saying "duh".

I loved Mom and she loved me, but that does not guarantee an easy relationship. I tried to write on Mothers Day but the day came and went. This morning I noticed the date and thought, it's time. Time to pay homage but to do it with honesty.

Still blocked, I stepped away from the computer to get some tea and as I walked through the living room, I was shocked to see the rainbow display. I have talked about these in an earlier post, but I have never had a display this time of year and never to the degree that you see here.
 The enormous rainbows inexplicably covered every wall and surface from ceiling to floor.

It gave me pause. I have been know to wax poetic on occasion, so bear with me here please. Suddenly I felt Ma around. In fact I felt her screaming "listen to me, pay attention. This is for you. Remember me well"....and the tears began to flow. The good tears, the ones the rainbows bring. After the storm, when so much has been lost, appears the rainbow, begging to be followed to a better place.

Suddenly my dilemma was a non issue. I loved Mom, she loved me. Nothing more need ever be explained or hashed out or examined.

Mom, I miss you, I love you. You would be so proud of your grandchildren. Be at peace, I remember you well.



Kathy said...

Suzan, this is a beautiful and brave post. Relationships are hard, some harder than others. I am happy you have found peace with this one.
Happy Mother's Day to YOU!

Tina said...

Such a beautiful post Z - I can´t imagine what you have been true. It´s not always easy. I lost mine at age 11.
hope you have had a beautiful day

" SHABBY JUNK" said...

wow, u write so good. My mother has been gone 32 years and we didn't have the best relationship. I loved Donna Reed too. My mother died a horrible death of colon cancer , for a year she was sick. She was not right because of the drugs they gave her. Never felt good about our relationship even when she died. She always made me feel guilty and was very over protective in a bad way. Sorry about your childhood. Children should never have to got thru these things. Hope our children will have better lives than we did.

Unknown said...

Blessings to you today. Happy Mother's Day.

Tanya said...

I hope the rainbows appeared to you on Mother's Day, dear Z! XOXOXO

Sonny G said...

Thank You..

Though your story may not be what one usually reads on this day, you have added to the Joy of my Mothers Day in ways I cant express.

TheCrankyCrow said...

I am so glad you "reprinted" this dear Z - as a newish follower, I had missed this part of the Z story....It may not be the happiest of tales; but is fulfilling - heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I think there are more of these stories than the happy Donna Reed/Barbara Billingsley ones....You have made it a wise life lesson rather than letting it imprison or embitter you. Bless the beautiful rainbows! Big Hugs ~ Robin

Nella Miller said...

Dear beautiful Suzan, I am sitting here with my jaw in my hand, so in awe of your bravery and honesty and goodness!
That you figured it all out and could retell the story so well, for all of us to take heed and listen to...that you could take the right lesson from her life, for your own. The rainbows, signs of her love and constant know what I am in reference to...sending hugs and love to you, N.xoxo

Mosaic Magpie said...

Such a well written post that spoke right to my heart. I am in a similar situation with a mother that is more often than not....not pleasant to be around. It is good to try and see things from their viewpoint, with their eyes so to speak. I hope the rainbows continue to uplift you each day.

erin's art and gardens said...

i remember reading this the first time and thinking, ah yes, we have a lot in common (you and i). mothers day is difficult for me...i try to focus on the joys of being a mother, instead of how i was mothered. my close friends tell me that i turned out to be such a good mommy, because of what i lacked growing i should be thankful somehow. forgiveness is an ongoing process for me....
you deserve the rainbows!

Cindy said...

I can't speak right now, this hit too close to home! but know that you are loved!

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

Hugs to you Z!

PoetC7 said...

I read this and know I'm not the only one. Thank you.

Razmataz said...

Wow, that is profound. Well written and a wonderful perspective of both sides.

Kathleen said...

While most people are posting such loving stories regarding Mother's Day your post is one I feel I relate to most. My thoughts in my situation are it was what it was. I never really understood young girls rebelling scream they weren't going to be like their mothers and act like Donna Reed meeting their children with cookies. REALLY? That was the world I wanted as a kid. My thoughts now are sometimes you learn how to be a better person from having a front row seat of what not to do. I loved love my mother too. Love and liking are very different.

Kathleen said...

While most people are posting such loving stories regarding Mother's Day your post is one I feel I relate to most. My thoughts in my situation are it was what it was. I never really understood young girls rebelling scream they weren't going to be like their mothers and act like Donna Reed meeting their children with cookies. REALLY? That was the world I wanted as a kid. My thoughts now are sometimes you learn how to be a better person from having a front row seat of what not to do. I loved love my mother too. Love and liking are very different.

Rebecca said...

Such a beautiful post on just loving without expectations... unmerited love... the kind that only comes from the Lord. Such a tribute to the heart of Jesus in you.

Low Tide High Style said...

Those of us who are honest all have pain and joy in our lives. It's which we chose to focus on that makes us who we are and how we will be remembered! What a lovely post!!!

xo Kat

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Susan this has touched me in many ways. For your sorrow and yet working to accept the sadness of a relationship that never could be with you wanted. I deal with that also. I know I am Blessed to have changed that path with my own children. I do love my Mother but sometimes it is not easy! Sending you a hug, Linda

the old white house said...

I remember this post Z and remember like I do today how brave and true and real you are. It's why I feel blessed to be your friend. Consider yourself hugged from me, a day late but none the less, hugged for being the mother that you always hoped for... she would be as proud of you as she would be your children. You are a treasure. t.xoxoxoo

Charlene said...

Mothers Day is HARD for those of us with HARD Mothers. I tried for 50 years to please mine & it never happened. No matter how hard I tried... I finally realized that I didn't have to beat my head against a wall ever again. I gave myself permission to STOP the madness. But, where's the card for Mothers Day for us? I guess the one that says... "You made me who I am today". I always say you are given your family (& we all do the best we can with that) & we choose our friends. I have been blessed by so many & all I can say is I'm glad you found peace & healing. Life is good. We chose to be different kinds of Mothers because of the "walk" we had. But, that too is a blessing. She made me strong. She made me a survivor. And I think your mother would have been proud of you & the woman you have become. Happy Mothers Day Suzan! HUGS!

Anna Hanley said...

Hello, I was just reading your post. It brings tears to my eyes, and I am so touched by it. It brings back so much, Hugs coming your way from me, Anna.

Romeo said...

Wow Z! Thank you so much for sharing such a personal side to your life. Your words are eloquent and meaningful - full of love. Despite a relationship of turmoil. She would have been proud of your post. I certainly am.


"Her" and Romeo

Ral @ARTbyRT Seascapes and Island Life said...

I really enjoyed your honest and heartfelt post. I love when the sun hits my prisms and sends peaceful rays over the whole kitchen. Aloha Raliegh

jeanne@juNxtaposition said...

i have been away, so i have just gotten to read this. i really have no great words for you other than to say you write beautifully, and this post made me cry. as a mother you know...we do the best we can..i am sure i have not done everything the way my children would have wanted...and certainly my mother did NOT, but maybe we just have to play the hand we are dealt and go with it...(an unfortuneately, i am right there with you on the singe motherhood...never thought that's where my life would have gone)....but everything that has happened to you in your life is what makes consider them all lessons...and head up are beautiful !

Anonymous said...

My mother passed away December 18, 2012. She has been sending me these same type of rainbows. I get them all over the house which I have lived for 10 years and have never noticed them before. It does tell me that there is something more out their and they are sending their love to us.

Boxwood Cottage said...

Such a touching story you went through dear Z *wipes of tears*. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for your mom and of course for you and your dad and brother. I wonder what sickness it was that left her (and you all along) suffering for so very long? Anyway you learned your lesson of life well my friend and became so wise and such a loving mom for your son and daughter. Respect! Big hugs to you! C. x

Nella Miller said...

My dear Suz, just because they are gone doesn't mean they are not with us every minute...this is such a beautiful post which has left me in are so insightful and brave and have figured it out...some of us never do, who have endured similar Mom was a dragon Mom, but like you, I knew I was loved...and the rainbows, of course....her presence...N.xoxo

Terra said...

How glorious that you were surrounded and comforted by those many sparkly rainbows. You were brave to write this and I can see how much you have learned. You and your mom were dealt tough hands with her illness, and you came through it the wiser now.

Susan Freeman said...

This post was very meaningful to me. I lost my Mom on February 21st following a massive stroke. I have been suffering through my grief. I loved her with all my heart, but our relationship was not always an easy one. Yet like you, I loved her and she loved me and that is all that needs to be said. I will miss her each day of my life, as I know you will miss your mom.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Colleen MacKinnon; Penny Rugs and More said...


Lana said...

Suzan, this is such a good post. Thank you for reprinting it for all of us. Writing more, later... You DO have it "figured out."

Bonny said...

Thank you for this post and your honesty. I love your writing because it reaches inside me and makes me feel along with you. Many hugs today!

Susie said...

Suzan, I have not been to visit your blog for some time...lost my friend list. But I found you today and here I sit crying. This is so touching. Hugs to you,xoxo,Susie

Jillayne said...

I loved this post then, and I love it now... still. Sorrow, truth, acceptance - life is always wrapped up in them as much as it is in joy and even in our arguing with it...
I think it must help a little, when you know that at the end of it all, when all the hard words had been said, the tears dried in tracks on your cheeks, the regrets put aside, there was indeed love, and while it may not always have been enough, it was always there.
It's good to remember...

TheCrankyCrow said...

Although 10 years have passed since I first read this post, it is still one of the most powerfully beautiful posts I've ever read. And even more relatable now than ever. ~Robin~

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Happy Mother's Day💐