My mother did for me something that few I have known were willing to do: to admit and be willing to discuss her failings as a mother, to help me unwind the terrors of my early years that were crippling me socially, to help me overcome the affects of childhood abuse and neglect by others and by her.
Her last act of contrition was to quit pestering me to kill her, but instead waiting until I was out of town on a vacation to have a doctor euthanize her. Perhaps the discussion where I asked he if she had ever loved me and she said “no” caused her to quit pressuring me to do this.
Since her death in 1984 I have had no one willing to know me. No one I’ve met can stand to hear enough of my personal story to understand my feelings, not even professional counselors who deny that I can remember the formative events that I was able to discuss as simple history with my mom.
She was reluctant to talk about my childhood at first, afraid that as I delved deeper I would be angry at her. Ostensibly I had good reason for such but in fact (well after one outburst early on) I only told her about events after I had vented the anger, in order to get leads to other events needing to be exorcized, and to help understand how each particular trauma was affecting my present-day life.
Her response to my outburst of “why didn’t you protect me from Dad” was “I was getting hurt by him too” (this makes him sound really bad, but I have heard of many worse people). That realization pretty much dissipated what little ill feelings I might have had for her, and we were already quite good friends by this time- starting around the time I was 15.
Her willingness to confirm my memories of birth left me in the position to return the favor in her last months when it was her own birth memories that were keeping her from yielding to death. I was able to help her itemize and segregate the feelings, track them to their source with which knowledge she was able to tame the panic.