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Princess Leia and I have a lot in common…

By Melonie Cannon

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few months about mothers. I’ve been watching the relationship my mother has with her 97-year old mother as she has had to go into a care center the last year. They have had an extremely rocky one. In fact, at one point they didn’t speak to one another – for almost thirty years. However, the last three years they have seemed to resolved what went on in the past. My mother has cared for her, cleaned out her home that was overrun with severe hoarding, and dealt with multiple horrendous financial and emotional issues from a very dysfunctional family. In the meantime, my grandmother has completely lost her bitter and pontificating edge. She has become vulnerable, sweet, and caring. I even dare to say loving. Now that she is somewhere where I can visit more (a long story), I’ve been going to see her three times a week and we have formed a great bond. I do her nails and read to her and we mostly just sit and talk about nothing important and enjoy each other.
However, the relationship with my Mom has yet to have that peace. Our ship is currently in the storm portion of our journey together. I am constantly forgiving her for hurts she inflicts and she has to deal with my sensitivities. Two Sundays ago, we had a long and emotional discussion. We tried to understand each other, but realized that we weren’t coming to an agreement on some issues that have happened. We did agree to a fresh start. That lasted a few days before she shocked me again with another choice and I had to forgive again. Christmas came and went with no interaction. Days went by. When the news hit that Debbie Reynolds had died a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher had, it made me reflect on the mother-daughter relationship. Theirs was tempestuous and yet they loved each other fiercely. What is it that makes us want our mother’s love and approval? What makes us crave our daughter’s attention and love?
I called my older sister who seems to get along with my mother perfectly well and asked her for advice and what her secret was. She said something that shifted my perspective. “Love the woman in front of you. Not the woman you wish she was. Stop saying a mother should never lie. A mother should never hurt their children. Those are just judgments. Let go of the should and just love her for who she is. She is living her truths and you are making judgments about them.” She also talked about forgiveness. I have been forgiving my mother for years. I’ve almost wore it as an honor badge. See? I’ve forgiven seventy times seven! She was right in the fact that I don’t accept my mother for how she currently is. I accept my brothers and sisters, my husband, my children, etc. and love them for all they encompass, but for some reason with my mother – I wasn’t letting her off the hook. “Our capacity to love and forgive – to accept fallibilities in another and in ourselves – is our greatest strength. It is a crucial lesson for us all, because love and forgiveness are constants. There will always be someone in our lives in need of forgiveness. Sometimes that person is you…If we don’t learn this lesson, we are prevented from following a true path of light and from becoming our best and truest selves.” (Laura Lynne Jackson) When I recognized my mistake yesterday, I asked for forgiveness, then took a deep breath and forgave myself and then mymother, concentrating on fully accepting and loving her for exactly who she is. Reaching for the phone a few days before seemed like a chasm I could never cross, but because of a new lesson about love, today it was just an arm’s length away. What is your relationship like with your mother? What lessons of love have you learned from her?

About Melonie Cannon

Melonie has surrounded herself with beautiful words for as long as she can remember. This led her to find a home with Segullah after writing an essay published in the May 2006 Segullah issue. She was invited to join the staff and has been a part of Segullah in various capacities since, including being the creator of the “Words Fall In” podcast.  She received her M.Ed from the University of Utah and was a certified Secondary English teacher before becoming a Mom of four. Over the years, her focus has been on natural healing modalities and becoming a sacred sound healing practitioner with a focus on the drum, rhythm, voice, and vibration. She is finishing her PH.D. in theology and metaphysics to further these studies and help women to connect to the divine within themselves.

1 thought on “Princess Leia and I have a lot in common…”

  1. Thank-you, dear Melonie for your vulnerable and honest post. I think it is both human and divine to long for the wholehearted love and acceptance of our mothers. I also know from personal experience with my own beloved mother that actual miracles can happen in relationships that for years have been purely pained. From my experience, the essential ingredient for a healing miracle is a stroke of pure light and illuminated understanding. To see something/someone in a way of truth with a capital "T" that we've never seen before, sometimes all at once, and often a little at a time. It sounds like this has happened for you which is such a gift, no matter how small it seems at the time, and it can happen for her too no matter how difficult it may be to imagine.

    As an aside, not only do we share the same name, I also dream of a new front door. I hope you get yours someday soon! 🙂 Much love to you and to your dear mother!

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