It's Still For You, Mom

I had a weird feeling pass over me about a month before my show, The Life is Sweet Project. It didn't feel right anymore.

After more than a year of working on the initial version of the show and then the "new" version, it didn't feel like me and I felt as though it had lost its focus. I realized that I had gotten lost in "ohmygosh a show that I've written is being produced by a theatre company and it's gonna be at the Toronto Centre for the Arts" instead of the "I'm doing this show to pay tribute to my mom because I miss her every day". The intention to get people talking about mental health was always there, but I got blindsided by the "thing" rather than the motivation. I had immersed myself in a process that I thought was the right way to go, but somehow managed to lose sight of the original objective which resulted in a major disconnect.

Thankfully I realized this about 3 weeks before the show and brought it back to its roots again. After our next rehearsal, the show felt settled and my intention was clear. I felt so connected to my mom on the day of the show. On Rogers Daytime and CBC's Here and Now, I talked about our relationship and what it was like to lose my mom to suicide at age 13. I felt confident during soundcheck and in the closing chorus of 'Mama' I felt grounded and close to her.

It's been 16 years since her death and I'm holding on for dear life to anything that will help me feel connected to her.

I wish I could tell you about the last conversation we had.
Or remember the exact sound of her voice.
Or the best piece of advice she ever gave me.
Or what it felt like when she hugged me.
But a lot of it is fading and it's terrifying.

One of the (very) few photos where my mom is smiling
On February 10th I got up in front of a packed audience to talk about how my mom's death made me the person that I am and how the tragedy of her death helps me to more intensely appreciate the happiness and the sweetness in my life. And while that's all very honest and truthful, I still lay in my bed sobbing this weekend thinking about the fact that she'll never meet my boyfriend or that I'll never be able to call her up and take her out for lunch.

She's been gone for 16 years and her life and death both impact me so greatly each and every day still. Days like today make me miss her more intensely and I remain thankful for the time we had together. I am reminded to embrace the sadness and find joy in the memories I do have of her. I'm still trying to figure it all out.

As I did last year, the show has helped me to feel an intense closeness to my mom through sharing her life with a whole set of new people. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to perform my show to honour her memory once again, and that through this series of blog posts, her death cultivates something great and genuinely helps other people.

I will forever be missing my mom and attempting to hold onto the pieces of her memory. I will remind myself of all that I've learned and gained as a result of her death. I will allow myself to feel sadness when thoughts and memories arise. But mostly I will remember that what I do is for her and that the show and the blog series have taken a lot of the sadness and grey out of a month that I normally despise. And that the whole Life is Sweet movement has brought me closer to my mom than ever before.

It's still for you, Mom.

1 comment:

ediblebalance said...

You are leaving behind a beautiful legacy for her, my dear friend... don't forget that. She would be incredibly proud of the woman you are.