You Can Become A Participant In Your Own Healing

My latest contribution to Psyched in San Francisco deals with grieving the death of an absent or preoccupied mother. It contains a continuation of my interviews with brave souls whose mothers have died. The takeaway:

"You can become a participant in your own healing."

When your mother dies before you have a chance to heal from the wounds of childhood, it feels far from a short-lived and surmountable bereavement. You can feel sucked into a depression that seems endless and repeating, and hard to shake. In every new relationship or opportunity, there always seems to be something missing.

”You might even feel like you are mourning a thing you never had. Mothers, no matter how remarkable, cannot be perfectly attentive to their children. It’s not uncommon for a primary caregiver to be unavailable or preoccupied, due to mental health problems, trauma, imprisonment, or economic scarcity, for example. So what happens to the child of a mother who is absent or unavailable, whose mother then dies – leaving no chance for reconciliation and repair?
— Molly Merson, MFT from "The Mourning After, Part II: Grieving a Disturbed or Absent Mother’s Death"