Loss hurts most at the holidays. With Hanakkuh upon us, I am reminded of the many mothers who've lost their sons to new brides. This is just one of many stories I've heard in my clinical practice this year. 3 tissue rating.
Imagine you've done the best job possible raising your children. It hasn't been perfect but whose childhood is? You overprotected or pushed them but you loved them and there's no love like a mother's love.
You've tried your best. You've given your child everything from nice homes to vacations, a bar mitzvah, a good education, college tuition but above all, Love. Siblings, perhaps a twin, wonderful grandparents, aunts, uncles and more.
You are the son of a wonderful mother. A member of a beautiful family.
Vulnerable for whatever reason, genetics perhaps, depression sets in. You suffered as a teen and needed the support of your parents especially your mother to help get you through. Your twin brother was attending the same college, providing support for you the whole way. Twins have a special bond. Yet you no longer speak to yours.
You were getting to that age when your mother suggested you go on Jdate, the premier Jewish dating site for Jewish singles looking to make a great connection with other Jewish singles.
You meet a woman on Jdate. You're too shy, nervous, lacking in self esteem to respond to her message. You don't know what to say. You go to your mother. You've never had a girlfriend before. You're frightened. So your mother responds for you telling her you'd like to meet. Your Jdate responds and you meet up.
After just one week, she meets your mother and tells her to get her wedding list ready because you're getting married! Your mother smiles and later on when the two of you are alone, offers you a piece of "motherly advice."
"Do you think it might be a bit soon? Maybe you should consider living together ?" You share this with your new Jdate and she is offended.
And when I say OFFENDED, I mean OFFENDED!!!! Like good morning Bridezilla OFFENDED. Bridezilla is defined by Wikipedia as “a generic term used to describe a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride who leaves aggravated family, friends and bridal vendors in her wake."
Your family was left in her wake.
Jdate's family is well-heeled and that is attractive to you. The wedding is worthy of a write up in the society pages of the New York Times. They pull out all the stops for this lavish wedding. Lobster, caviar and truffles on the menu. Nothing amiss except......
YOUR FAMILY. Left in Bridezilla's wake. Not invited. None of them. Banished. All of them. You see, the bride was OFFENDED. Your family does not matter. Your family does not matter?
The umbilical cord is cut. Your mother. Your father. Grandparents. Uncle. Aunt and Cousin. Your Twin Sister. And you say nothing.
Her parents seemingly lack the class of wisdom, kindness and/or compassion to teach their daughter well or perhaps give her the gift of some "motherly advice."
Those with class treat others with respect. They follow the moral standard and ethics. They are not afraid of people who may have made a mistake.
Mr. & Mrs. So & So request the honour of your presence at the wedding of their daughter to your.......son.......Wake up, son. Money does not account for decorum.
Now you have babies of your own and YOUR FAMILY, your mother has not held any of them in her arms. Ever. Her own flesh and blood.
You allow it all to happen without uttering a word. It doesn't mean you are not responsible or that you don't care. It underscores your lack of confidence. If you think your parents suffocated you, hold on. You ain't seen nothing yet. Remember, we teach others how to treat us. It takes two to tango. But let me remind you, you have a voice.
You, your wife and her parents pretend they are the only grandparents when YOU know that isn't true. Remember as you raise your children, "What is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh."
One more thing....one of your children is a mirror image of your mother. A daily reminder of her love. Remember, it all comes out in the flesh even love. Because that is what your mother is. Love.
And Love is what matters.
Thank you Jdate.
For more on this sad, sad subject shrouded in shame and stigma: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190328-family-estrangement-causes
Maureen McGrath is the host of the Sunday Night Health Show, a live listener call-in radio show in Western Canada. She is in clinical practice where she sees women who suffer with stress, loss, pain and heartache.