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so much better than bunko


Today would have been my mom’s 75th birthday.

What would naturally follow is a catalogue of her wonderful qualities, but what feels more true is this:

It was complicated.
Even after death, it is complicated.

In astrology, my Chiron bumps right up against my moon. The wounded healer and the mother archetype, inextricably linked.

It’s not her fault. It’s not my fault. Our souls seemed destined to both love each other deeply and break each others hearts.

After my parents’ divorce, and probably even before, my mom was deeply unhappy. I watched her try all the things - church, therapy, self help books, support groups.

None of it helped. Or so it seemed to my little girl eyes.

It all seemed so unfair. She was a good person. She was trying. She was doing all the things.

And so I took it upon myself to try to make her happy. Through perfectionism, outrage on her behalf, and a myriad of other misguided ways.

It was painfully ineffective.

Very very VERY slowly, over the course of decades, she found her way. Through gardening. Good friends. Crafting. Cooking. And probably a bunch of other stuff I don’t even know about.

When she died of a sudden heart attack on Christmas Eve of 2020, on her favorite holiday, one of the things that felt especially cruel was the timing of it all.

After a lifetime of hard work, she was months away from retirement, had one payment left on the house. Had clawed her way out of the depths of depression.

She was just on the cusp of a whole new chapter. She was excited to finally join the gardening club. And play more bunko + golf + mahjong. And travel the world with my aunt.

And in her death, I found myself once again outraged on her behalf. Devastated by the unfairness of it all.

Still, after all of these years, I’m somehow trying to contort and fight with reality so she can be happy.

I thought of her a lot this past week while on retreat.

And it was in a yin class, in pigeon pose, some poignant song playing that I can’t even remember now, when I came to that usual sticky place.

It’s not fair.
Outrage on her behalf.

And I heard her say, softly, gently:

“Baby, this is so much better than bunko.”

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