Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Detour During the Writing-est Weekend


I wasn't going to write about my mother.  My father either.  I'd written about him continuously since his death almost three years ago.

Eight women met with writer Carol Henderson this weekend for a workshop entitled, "Those Who Shape Us."  For a while after we firmed up the date, I gave some thought to the people who had had influence - both good and bad - on my life.  I wanted it to be a teacher, for instance Mrs. Touchstone who let us have Toastmaster's Club every Friday in high school.  Or Mrs. Daniels, the choir teacher who chose me to be Becky Thatcher even though Susan Morrison should have gotten the part with her far superior voice.  I wanted it to be someone else's parent, like Mrs. Jeffress, who though gruff and no-nonsense, treated me like an adult.  An adult with some sense when I was neither adult nor sensible.  Or one of the parents who led my Girl Scout troop or MYF or a minister in one of the churches I went to.  Maybe it could be an aunt or an uncle or my grandparents.  Even my great-grandparents who adored me.

But not my mother and father.

Finally, as the date approached, I got a kidney stone which took almost three weeks to deal with.  Then I had to get ready for the workshop, and in all the activity I stopped worrying about the person who shaped me.  The day before we were to meet I made a conscious decision just to let go and see who came up.

It was my mother.

It seems that it has taken the death of my father to bring the fullness of the death of my mother to me. We did exercise after exercise (the writing-est workshop I've ever participated in) and every time, she was the central figure.

I was most moved by the next to the last exercise, where we were asked to revise history, to write to an "I wish I had..." prompt.  And I was able to re-vision the last night I saw my mother in a way that broke my heart but also was incredibly healing.

It was an amazing seven hours - eight if you include the delicious meal by my friend, Mark.  I've got a lot to work with and work on, but the hard work was done in a safe place, with other talented writers and one facilitator skilled in helping people deal with their grief.  I didn't know that's where she was going to take me.


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2 comments:

Carol Henderon said...

Mamie:
Thank you for providing the deliciously amazing venue for the workshop. I will never forget the piece you reference here, the three generations of women, the stairs, the reaching out. Would you be willing to share a copy of that with me. I would love to read it again.

What an amazing group of writers you attract to your workshops. I'm looking forward to doing another at your place, next year. And to participating in a few!

mamie said...

Thanks, Carol, and we couldn't have done any of it without YOU!

I am happy to send you a copy of the piece as soon as I get it typed up and maybe put a little shine on it. It's still very emotional for me to think about it -- as I wrote the blog post I felt teary again!

I know we'll see each other soon. <3