I was five and my brother six when our mother shot herself. We had flown to New York to visit our father and his new wife, Jacquie. A phone call at supper shattered what little structure existed in my life. Jacquie said that I turned to her and asked, “So you’ll be my new Mom?” I could not deal with what had just happened; I needed a mother and she graciously stepped in. My brother said she died because we weren’t there with her. This made complete sense to me, of course. I carried plenty of guilt already: wrecking my brother’s bicycle and rupturing my liver at the same time, lighting piles of leaves in the school yard then getting a ride home in the police car and not wanting to get out because of the bad feelings inside our house – the darkness.
Years later I was still looking for the perfect mother and still running in fear from her. My wife had left me after finding out about my repeated affairs. My solo medical practice was being squashed by the other group in town, from whom I had split off over bitter disagreements on issues that I cannot even remember now. I contemplated suicide to stop the pain, but did not solely because I did not wish to give to my son what my mother gave to me.
It was then, ten years ago now, that a patient gave me the Tao te Ching. It spoke of seeing things differently, of trusting Life, of letting go (of my ego). It was the beginning of a different path. For five years I worked on this and came to a place of needing closure with my mother; to let go of my anger toward her and my fantasy that I could find the perfect woman to replace her. I underwent regression hypnosis to try to access lost memories of her from my childhood. I was still in recovery from another bicycle accident in which I broke 8 bones but, despite some pain, was able to enter a hypnotic state easily. The therapist gradually took me back over the course of my life until I was a little boy in a crib. And then suddenly and without fear, she was there, looking over the rails at me. And she loved me like I had never remembered and had never known from anyone else. And she was whole, freed of the darkness and pain that had so colored her life.
Looking back now, I think this was not a memory but was a real time connection with the spirit that was my mother and is now watching over me. I believe that as she loves me, so Life loves me and loves all of us. I believe we can heal if we open our hearts, let go of our egos, and stop wrecking bicycles.