It's official, I'm all out of Mothers. Birth, in-law, out-law, ex and current.
Last year, in March, my own mother passed away after a long, sad journey with Alzheimers. I should say her body passed away - the mother I knew, and who knew me had been gone for quite some time. In September, my ex-husband's mother passed away - apparently cracking wise until the end. I loved that feisty old broad.
Yesterday we got the news that Downtown Dad's mom, Helen, had passed suddenly, although not unexpectedly. As with my mom, the Helen we knew had left us a couple of years ago.
Certainly this is a time of transition for our family, and though it is a sad one, it has been a long time coming. We've had plenty of time to process this, but you just never know how you'll feel until it happens. I have to admit though, to a certain sense of relief along with the sadness. (accompanied by a heapin' helpin' of guilt for feeling that relief) But like I said, this has been a long time coming.
In processing through this, it occurs to me that mothers, or mother figures, in addition to being a key relationship in our lives, also represent safety and comfort in an iconic way. As if having lost their presence in the world, we are somehow more exposed to danger. Not any tangible danger, but the misty, vague kind of danger that is the stuff of childhood nightmares.
...or maybe, just maybe, its the excitement and fear of having to stand on your own for the first time.
Relating everything as I do, to Disney movies, and always looking for a silver lining - I started thinking that mothers represent a comforting, safe theme in movies and stories too. And heroes, especially Disney heroes hardly ever have a mother! Think about it...
- Pinocchio - no mother.
- Peter Pan - no mother.
- The Sword in the Stone - Wart has no parents.
- The Rescuers - Penny is an orphan
- Tron Legacy - Sam Flynn - no mother.
- The Great Mouse Detective - Olivia Flaversham - no mother.
- Beauty and the Beast - Belle - no mother
- Aladdin - orphan. Jasmine - no mother
- Pocahontas - no mother
- Pirates of the Caribbean - Elizabeth, Jack and Will - no mother.
- The Little Mermaid - Ariel no mother
- Bambi - Mother killed by a gunshot.
- The Fox and the Hound - Tod - Mother killed by a gunshot.
- Finding Nemo - Mother killed by barracuda
I think, in fiction, and maybe in real life too, heroes who participate in epic journeys and adventures have to learn, grow, and stand on their own without a parent to provide guidance. The death or absence of a mother or guidance figure, brings this point to light, and creates the tension or drama that makes things interesting.
Could it be that by removing our sources of comfort and safety, some kind of drama or adventure for would-be heroes Lala and Downtown Dad is about to begin, as we are forced to confront the challenges of 2013 alone?
Tune in next time to find out!