It makes no sense. People who read my manuscript (as I wait to find the ideal publisher) just about always ask, “What do your mom and dad think about this?” They worry if my relationship with my parents will suffer, or has suffered, because of what I’ve written and the memories I’ve shared.
Now first, let me quickly state that memory is a weird thing. And I’m the first to say that what I share is my memories, my truth. It’s not necessarily the truth. It’s very personal and biased, and my brother would be the first to say that I’ve gotten some key things wrong. So what I’ve written about my mother and father is what I remember, years later, about my experience of what happened. Not their intentions, which I clearly, easily, potentially misinterpreted. Not maybe even what actually happened, at least from their point of view. It’s my possibly distorted memory of my possibly distorted perception. But it is my truth.
And I guess some people would say that it doesn’t make my mother look too good. She is the one who left me. She is the one for whom I’ve ached for years. So here’s the surprise that I share when people ask if she knows about the book, and what she thinks about the book. She is my biggest fan. Really. She may want to write an epilogue that says how different she is now (which she is) and how much better, wonderful even at times, our relationship is (which it is). But she is my biggest fan. She wants it published and she cries with joy at each positive step along the way. She’s read it and edited it and offered suggestions. She’s shared with me her memories and her experience and reasons, so that I could understand them better and incorporate them. She’s got printed out revision upon revision upon revision packed away in her storage room, “just in case.” She is my biggest fan.
Does that speak to the years we’ve spent repairing and rebuilding (or perhaps building) our relationship? I think so. Does it speak to the work I’ve done and the path I’ve journeyed to heal and move on and move on with her as best as possible? I think so. Does it speak to how she’s transformed and the effort she’s put out to do things differently going forward? To be there for me as best she can? Absolutely. Does it possibly speak to the love that was always there, even though I didn’t know it and sometimes didn’t feel it? I like to think so. Not very long ago I was working with a trauma therapist, and she asked me to remember the love my parents had for me when I was little. I could remember nothing. She asked me to imagine myself as a young child and see and feel their love. It was incomprehensible to me. So we worked through that in the special method we were using (ask me about EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). And I could begin to imagine and sense their love. It may have been hidden and indecipherable to me when I was younger, but I slowly translated it to be more real.
That love – that’s what I know when I stop and think about my mother being my biggest fan. People publish memoirs and their families stop talking to them. Not mine. My mother is my biggest fan, so anything is possible. That’s what I say to people when they’re stuck in desperation. That’s what I say to myself when I’m stuck in desperation. My mother left the Moonies. Anything is possible. My mother is my biggest fan. Anything is possible. I am so lucky.