When I got married, I certainly embraced the ”romantic love concept.” My songwriting and diary entries were so innocent. I was very immature.
I have wondered for many months whether I would be able to share what I am about to. If I could share how I felt when I saw my dead son’s body, I decided I could share this.
I was actually married six months before my wedding. It was not a fabulous, passionate elopement kind of thing. It was actually quite traumatic.
It happened when my mother became very distraught over the course of my yearlong engagement. My mother pressured me to marry, six months into my engagement. She had rigid beliefs about virginity, marriage, and having that necessary “piece of paper,” which a marriage certificate represented.
She was not speaking to me because I had “deeply disappointed her.” In order to satisfy her, my compromise was to marry six months earlier. It was to be kept a big secret.
Therefore, I was already married when I had my official wedding. I carried the heavy weight of what had happened six months earlier, which also affected the start of my marriage.
As I have neared recording my wedding song, the trauma around all of this has resurfaced. My song was so hopeful!
Recently, I shared my feelings around all of this with Connie, my hypnotherapist. A very interesting connection was made when I shared with her the following:
“I was in our rabbi’s office for the actual, marriage ceremony. That day, I became ill with a severe, stomach upset. I was so weak, that I could not stand up. The wedding was performed with me sitting in a chair ready to pass out. My husband’s best man, Robert, was there as was Cheryl.
Pictures were taken back at my house. Except, I was sick in bed! It was a joke that instead of having me in the picture, pictures were taken with a picture frame of me instead!”
Connie listened. My revelation came when she reminded me about the stomach upset I had later in my life. Three years ago, I developed microscopic colitis while I was under the tremendous stress of my parents living with me. My realization was that stomach upset from stress happened far earlier in my life. Here I had always assumed I had the flu, when it was most likely stress related!
Being married ahead of a wedding may not seem like such a big deal. However, it was a big deal for me, because of the pressure and the circumstances. I would never do that to a child of mine.
I did have a beautiful, June wedding. However, it was not that romantic for my husband and I. We endured so much from our crazy situation of being legally married and living separately. Maintaining the secret for my mother caused a lot of tension between Michael and I. Michael became very detached from participating in a wedding that he felt was not necessary anymore. That resulted in a lot of sadness for me, and destroyed my romantic notions very quickly.
When I was twenty-four, I spiraled into a deep depression. I went to see a therapist. It turned out that my depression was related to the anger I felt toward my parents regarding this situation. The therapist encouraged me to confront my parents and express myself with her support.
It was quite difficult for me, but I forced my parents to attend a session where there were two psychologists. My two brothers were there also. Just remembering that session has been very painful for me.
At that session, I expressed my anger and made permanent changes to our relationship.
Gradually, I moved away from the anger. I was able make my decision regarding having children after that.
It is very important to know that I forgave my mom. Our relationship changed when Jason was born and she was such an integral part of my life. My survival of that ordeal was due to her support. She and my father were present for every one of my four childrens’ births.
Recently, I found a card from my mom in my memorabilia box. When I read it, it caused my tears to gush. I credit her a lot with her willingness to apologize. Now that I’m a parent, I understand how there is so much responsibility and always the chance of making a mistake for which my child might not forgive me.
Transcription of my mom’s card:
I could not write until I knew what was bothering you about me. Now the meeting is over and I know. I can only say I’m sorry if I did not live up to your image of how you want me to be. Luckily, I still go to school and am able to do well in learning and yesterday I learned much. It hurt because I tried to do what I felt was helpful. I did it because I loved you and felt good doing it. Naturally I fell my moral and religious principles are worth passing on to my children. However, I know I can change. I’m trying very hard and I want you to let me know when I’m detouring. Tonight is Yom Kippur and we start out anew. My biggest hurt is because you are hurting and my one desire is for you to be happy. Love, Mom
While reading her card for this post, I had another realization. Part of this came about during my recent, email correspondence with my former boyfriend, Sam. He wrote some very sensitive words to me. Because he has strong religious beliefs and is also a doctor, his words were exceptionally meaningful. He wrote:
I saw a few posts where you mentioned that your Mom was upset because Jason’s surgery was right before Yom Kippur. When you have to do a medical procedure that is important, and particularly this one, where they were trying to save his life, you have an absolute obligation to do it as soon as you can…even on Yom Kippur, Shabbat, or any other holiday. ”Pikuach nefesh” is a concept where virtually any religious consideration is nullified in the attempt to save a life…please don’t feel bad about this!
My realization is that my mom wrote this card on what became the Yartzeit (Jewish death day anniversary) for Jason eight years later! That irony cannot escape me!
My mom had very strong feelings about Yom Kippur. In the end, the very holiday that she believed deeply in starting anew was so very painful for her after Jason died the day before.
For many years I had tremendous anguish for having scheduled his surgery on that day. My mother didn’t blame me outwardly, however, when the surgery was scheduled she was very angry about it. She insisted that I change the date, but I refused to.
For a long time carried the burden that I scheduled his “day of death.” But then, I always remember a woman I met in Compassionate Friends. Her five-year-old son died in the hospital while awaiting his surgery.
I truly have forgiven myself for scheduling his surgery on that day. I did not have another choice, because I was not capable of waiting; the next opening for surgery was several months down the road.
My son’s death was something that happened, for which I am not responsible.
I have felt very responsible for so much for so long!
I often lament my responsibility for my parents.
I gained additional insight while writing this post. When I saw Connie this morning, I mentioned to her that being responsible for my parents has been stressful for me.
What has been most useful for me with hypnotherapy, was knowing that even small changes in my thinking has lifted my mood. Once again – one of my favorite gems has been “thoughts equal feelings.”
Connie mentioned that the word “responsible” might not be helpful for me. She suggested I find a replacement for the words “feeling responsible.” It was clear for her that I could find another way to look at this. While I was with her, I drew a blank and could not think of any way to see it differently.
So, at this moment I’ve decided to try. First, I looked up responsibility:
1. The state of having control of someone.
2. The blame for something that has happened.
3. Something for which a person is responsible.
Wow! After writing that, I see Connie was right. Those words were definitely not helpful for me!
At this moment in time, as I am writing this, it just came to me!
I am not responsible for my parents.
I care for my parents.
Here is the difference, simply by the definition:
1. To be interested or concerned.
2. To tend or supervise somebody.
3. The process of maintaining something in good condition.
4. Providing whatever is needed.
I know this all sounds like semantics. How is it that changing a word could make a difference?
I know this all sounds like semantics. How is it that changing a word could make a difference?
It is hard to explain – but every time I have analyzed and changed my thinking I have lifted myself out of my depression. If I use the word “care,” my spirits feel so much lighter than when I use the word “responsible!”
My mom called me crying with panic attacks several times this week.
After I left Connie this morning, I decided to surprise my mother and take her out to lunch.
When I arrived at her nursing facility, she was confused. She thought my brother was coming today, because she lost track of what day it was. If I had not come, she would have called me crying. She was ready to panic when I walked into her nursing facility.
She shared with me that she had a nightmare about death last night.
Her eyes filled with tears because she was so grateful to see me. She radiated intense joy throughout our lunch outing.
While my mom was on a respirator this past December, I was fortunate that she survived; I know my caring made a big difference.
I care very much for my parents, as they have always cared so much about me for my entire life. My mother’s caring about me has buoyed me throughout the most difficult times in my life.
I cannot control the ravages of the aging process that afflicts both my parents right now.
I was trying to decide whether to share my secret; after all, my mother is still alive and would be very upset about what I’ve written.
However, I know she loves me very much. She would want me to heal and do whatever was necessary to achieve that.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to recording my wedding song.
I am at peace now. It has been a truly, beautiful day.
When I was younger – I was very open. After the experience surrounding my wedding, I changed a lot.
I find it interesting how open I am now. I didn’t have to look very far to see that I was quite closed up for a long time.
When I saw my close friend, Marge, last week, I shared my “secret wedding” story with her. She never knew. For all these years, I kept this it a secret from such a good friend!
Recently, when I had lunch with my sister-in-law, I asked her if she knew. She had no idea either. My brother never even told her. My brother was the one that suggested the idea to my mother about the early marriage.
Now I have no more secrets! Well, not that I’m going to share on my blog anyway!
© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.