Living an orphan life
As I left my strength training class yesterday I started thinking about a heartbreaking story I’d heard that afternoon and started to cry. I was driving and crying and wondering what had gotten into me. I’m not a crier.
Yesterday afternoon I was at my favourite cafe and a teenage boy came in with a woman I assumed was his mother. He came to see a hairdresser who was having her lunch in the cafe. He was supposed to clean the salon that afternoon while she worked.
The boy and woman left for a while and the hairdresser said that it was his social worker that had brought him. The 16-year-olds mother had died a few months ago and he had stayed living in the house and was being kept an eye on by the neighbours.
A 16-year-old orphan. My heart broke.
I have a 17 year old and my worst fear as he was growing up was that something would happen to me and he’d be left motherless. And here was my greatest fear looking me right in the face. I wondered how he could go on. How he could sleep in that house that he’d shared with his mother now all alone. How could he not lose his mind with the sorrow?
To me he looked so much like a puppy that needed direction and guidance.
And despite the reality of it, I still wondered why it had hit me so suddenly as I drove home. Why was I crying as if bereft?
So I thought about it and wrote about it and I came to realize why.
As a girl I was emotionally and sometimes physically neglected by my mother. It was as if she’d abandoned me over and over again. I couldn’t find a safe place to be emotionally because I never knew if she’d be available to me or be abandoning me.
And when I saw that lost boy who has no one it brought those feelings of being a motherless orphan back to me full force. I hadn’t realized that this was how her abuse had made me feel. Not until yesterday. Not until I’d left my class and was driving home.
Why then? I wondered. I think the release of energy from strenuous exercise opened up my usual defenses. I think my defenses had dropped while I worked out, and as I drove home the emotions flooded up through me.
And they needed to. I really needed to know this. I have felt like an orphan most of my life until very recently. That explains why I didn’t feel worthy of good love and why I’d bend myself over backwards to be loved. I felt unloveable because I’d been abandoned. Abandoned by my mother no less.
So I felt a bond with that boy I’d seen. And my heart does hurt for him too. I have been able to make a certain peace with my mother, I hope he was able to as well.