It was forbidden and deemed wrong to talk about ‘her’, and if I did I would get punished. I also did not know or distinguish the difference between discipline and abuse.A fist replaced a smack. I was subject to the wooden spoon, and starved instead of fed.I was forcefully pushed (not sent) to the ‘naughty corner’ and locked in my bedroom when I would ask ‘where is my Mummy?’I thought it was normal to be hit by my father for accidentally waking him up on a Sunday morning when my sister and I would fight over our dolls.Stemming from my dysfunctional childhood, and as a result of the constant abuse and neglect, I became reserved and ashamed of who I was. I questioned my existence due to the everyday suffering. I developed distorted notions of loving, positive and safe relationships.Instead of being built on the foundation of love and safety, the concept of familial relationships and home became the things I feared the most. A seed of fear implanted within my delicate little body, and rooted deeply until, over time, it created weeds of anxiety which grew, tangled up and crept into many areas of my life.As a motherless daughter, I never had any guidance or skills taught on how to wholeheartedly love, value and accept myself.I sought some sort of mother substitute and looked for outlets where I could be educated on what most people consider to be instinctive human emotions, and for someone to help me answer the questions I had surrounding my feelings of grief, abandonment, anger, hurt, and loneliness.I have now forged the foundations of my morals and behaviours from a mixture of self-help books, TED talks, and empowering mentors such as Brené Brown, Tony Robbins and Louise Hay.I would watch, read, and listen intently to make notes that really resonated with me in my journal and have continued to do so to this day — it is my way of healing.As a child I turned to books: it was my escape, and through my journal, I had a communication channel between me and my mother.Today, I have the ability to truly connect with her when I am writing. I talk to her and tell her my thoughts and feelings. I know she is listening and is helping me grow. I can really feel her.Hope Edelman, author of the classic grief guidebook Motherless Daughters, states that mourning is a lifelong process, especially for those who lost their mothers when they were young children.”We manage, but we’re damaged,” she writes. She also emphasises the unique role a mother plays in the lives of her children, which means that grief for her returns in waves each time an important milestone is reached or when she is faced with a difficult encounter, no matter how many years have passed since her final goodbye.
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