Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Making Peace with Mother

My mother: Marcella Theodora Olckers
13 October 1942 - 22 November 2001

Eleven years ago, around four in the afternoon, my mother, quite literally, dropped dead. Heart attack. One of such magnitude that only if she had been open on an operating table, would they have had a smidgeon of a chance of saving her.

Now before you all start composing comments that start with "OMG, I am so sorry...", save it. Seriously. Comments like that annoy me. I discovered a taboo after she died: people find it really difficult to deal with me telling them I don't miss my mother and I am really not sorry she is dead. There've been a lot of how-can-you-say-thats and you-don't-really-mean-thats. Of course I can say that. Yes, I really do mean that.

You didn't know my mother. Even if you did, you would have found her charming, generous and dedicated to helping others. You would never have guessed that she was a controlling, narcissistic, emotionally abusive bitch.

And I am sure that that last paragraph evoked a lot of a lot of how-can-you-say-thats and you-don't-really-mean-thats too.

I assure you that I can and I do.

Enough of that, though. I decided this year to make peace with my mother, even though she is long dead. And what it means is actually saying nice things about her, which I find quite challenging. I did put some thought into it and I discovered that I actually do have a few  nice things to say about her and I thought I would say those nice things today (Ten. Ten nice things to say. That's as far as I got.):

1. My mom was a beautiful woman. It is from her that I get my good looks (no, really, I am a good looking woman beneath all that fat)

2. I got my love of music - particularly the vintage and classical stuff - from her. She was musically enclined herself and I guess she passed that on to me too.

3. She made awesome fish cakes.

4. It was rare to see her laugh or smile, but when she did, there was suddenly light in the air.

5. Because of her, I became the funny, clownish person I am today.

6. She taught me how to make potato salad

7. She birthed me and took care of me and for a time, she must have felt some sort of affection, if not love, towards me. I think mostly when I was a baby and a toddler.

8.  She sometimes let me stay home from school for a day or two if I wasn't sick, but didn't want to go.

9. She believed me when I told her I had really bad headaches, which later turned out to be migraines. She could easily have told me I was silly, but didn't.

10. She understood my fear of the dark.


  1. I am sorry for the loss of your mother Tanya. I don't mean her death, I mean the loss of the mother she should have been to you - of the mother you deserved. I've been reading your blog for a while and it's an inspiration. Keep going, we're reading.

    1. Thanks. And in a weird and twisted kind of way, I believe my mom did me a favour. She shaped me. And I like me.