VJ’s Weekly Challenge #96: circling

I reach out to Mother only to discover she is missing; she has gone in search of me.

The dream unsettles me. I capture the essence by writing it down, then set the words aside, not knowing where to begin. The sorrow lingers.

I remember the moment I knew I’d been displaced in my mother’s life. I was four and needing Mother’s comfort. I sought to sit on her lap, only the lap was already taken: a wriggling, crying infant now took precedence. So, I learned to find solace from another Mother – Nature’s reassuring presence.

“I depended on you for so much,” Mom told me once, catching me by surprise. “You were my rock – independent, smart – and also an enigma. I felt inadequate as a mother.”

I learned not to need my mother, through childhood, adolescence (left home at seventeen) and even throughout my own parenting years. There was always something more pressing than me.

More often than not, it was I who played the adult role – consoling, listening, attempting to be therapist. I helped her get a lawyer when life with Dad became to much. I defended her against the outrage of older siblings, and counselled her out of suicidal tendencies.

“Even a rock needs a mother,” I should have said.

Part of the sorrow I feel, is that now she is 93 and her time is running out, I may never find the mothering that four year old self yearns for.

“You won’t let me die alone, will you?” she asked me recently. Of course not.

Ironically, the dream tells me, while I’ve been searching for her, she’s been searching for me, as if our entire lives we have circled each other without closing the gap – maintaining an illusion of distance.


There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.

– Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen

Circling becomes the focus this week. Birds do it, dogs do it, we do it. Respond in whatever way the muse leads you, and then create a link back to this page. I look forward to your insights.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

54 thoughts on “VJ’s Weekly Challenge #96: circling

  1. I am intrigued by your prompt, but the only phrase that kept popping up in my brain was “circling the drain” and I didn’t want to follow up on that thought! (my poetry skills fall short on “brain and drain” LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a very moving post. My mother also once said to me that she thought she was inadequate as a mother. She never was. The gave me what I needed from the moment I was born until the moment she died. I hope that you and your mother can find what you need in each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz. Given the circumstances of her life, I know she has loved me within her capacity. I harboured anger for years, but realize the futility of that now. I have forgiven her, but somehow, the sorrow lingers.


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