The little deaths of life
I was recently reading about the differences between the words “grief” and “morning”. If I have gotten it well, “grief” is the internal feeling of loss and “mourning” is best defined as acts of expressions of grief. The Portuguese word “luto” could be the translation of both, it is also related to a physical loss. But its equivalent in French, the word “deuil”, seems to have a wider utilization, the expression “faire le deuil” is also often used in reference to what must be left behind. It supports the wise idea that one must accept what cannot be changed.
Our lives are punctuated by wonderful moments during which we were (or thought we were) happy, some of which are no longer part of our lives for reasons often beyond our control. We have no choice but to accept that these moments will remain in the past and we should better move forward. However, even if these ruptures are not as dramatic as the irreversible physical loss of a loved one, they can also hurt.
I recently felt this strange feeling when I came across photos of my baby son. It was like I missed him a lot but the weirdest thing is that my big boy was there, live fresh, next to me. Theoretically this big boy is the same little boy from ten years ago. But our relationship, the place I occupy in his life and the vision he has of me are absolutely not the same. I must then grieve for that moment and all that it represented. My role now is to make him autonomous and independent. This is the biggest paradox of motherhood: giving them the best we can, so that they will be able to fly as high as possible and very often far from us.
That’s how life is, and these changes characterize our evolution, we are not the same as ten or a year ago. Why so think about my baby son bring me this sweet bitterness? I have asked myself it several times and I believe that I have found a simple and profound answer: it hurts because we have to untie a knot that was so pleasantly tied and leave these enchanted parentheses where we were happy for a few years. The attachment to our infant awakens our wildest instincts against which we have been fighting in our social life. In the motherhood, those animals’ feelings are authorized and even legitimized by society (unlike other forms of love). We instantly build an identity dominated by deep love, without the barriers that we have been forced to erect to live in a society of oppressive norms and rules. In this suspended and temporary space, a defenseless and totally vulnerable little being depends on us. We must protect and defend him against the many evils of life. It is very easy to get used to this emotional liberation which awakens unsuspected emotions, without self-censorship, learning to live with constant solicitation and the need that this little being has for our presence. It is a period of our life in which we feel valued and loved as never before, our role is central, essential and even vital. In this short space of time we are, finally, important for someone, our ego is daily nourished in this relationship which implies resignation and self-giving, but whose return is immediate because it comes back to us surrounded by a rare purity.
And all of this suddenly collapses, as it happened. In adolescence, all this devotion so simple to build, with our entrails, must be rationally deconstructed. Our role is now at the extreme opposite of what we had learned to do until then, from now on we have to learn to be unnecessary, to teach them to fend for themselves, tell them that they should no longer depend on us and show them that they can do it. A fierce struggle takes place between a crazy
desire to have them always near us, in an eternal big hug as in these first years submerged in a real affection, and the inevitability of making them independent ... and free! So, we have to face the ultimate resignation: help them leave the nest and watch them enter in a hostile world by walking through the dark street and taking with them a piece of our soul.