Thoughts on the Meaning of Being Together

One month after father’s physical death, I had a strong impulse to write down some thoughts on what it means to be together. The words are failing me, but I still wanted to give myself a chance to express how I feel about the continuation of strong bonds beyond physical death.

Last December, I was in the office of one of father’s oncologists. I wanted to hear about advanced cancer treatments. At one point, the doctor stopped for few seconds, looked at me sternly and said, “You need to cut the ropes”.

Despite the sting in the heart, I understood the doctor meant well. In her world, cutting the ropes was the best thing for me to do.

But in my world, how could I conceive of cutting the ropes? How could I stop trying to help the man with whom I’ve had a strong bond ever since I’ve known myself. Metastasised colon cancer does not give much room for hope for survival. But I wanted to hope we can find a treatment to extend my father’s life.

Cutting the ropes was not something I was ready to do.

A few weeks later, my father’s illness advanced. I took a break from everything I do in order to be by his side. In one of his lasts days, I whispered in his ear, “We are together. I am with you.”

Ever since, the words, “We are together”, have been on my mind. It’s been four weeks since my father passed away. Would there be another way of being together?

I am now stepping in the territory of metaphysical assumptions about bonds between people who are living and people who pass away.

So, here I go. When you love someone so much, it’s not possible that the love stops when the other person passes away or when you yourself stop existing from the physical world.

Father and I can’t communicate the way we have been used, in this physical reality. We can’t talk on the phone, every day. We can’t have dinner at the same table, in my childhood home. We can’t spend holidays together, the way we used to. And yet, somewhere at another dimension of reality, the pure love must continue and connect us.

Cutting the ropes is not what I want. Instead, I choose to have a better understanding on how our connection can live on. In the last four weeks, I’ve had more dreams about father than ever before. Most of those dreams seem so real.

Maybe dreams hold the key to understanding that being together doesn’t mean, exclusively, two persons in the same physical space. Maybe there is some other unconscious part of ourselves that travels at night and experiences, in a similar way the conscious self experiences when we are awake.

Most certainly, father will live in my memories and the memories of those who love him. Other than that, could meditation and imagination nurture the love between father and myself? In my imagination, I want to believe that a part of myself keeps company to him in whatever reality he is now living.

Physical death can’t be the end.


The first pregnancy – the beginning of a different you

One of the laws of nature is that women are built so that they can carry babies in their wombs. At the same time with the new life who develops inside you, you go through irreversible inner changes, too. The nine months of pregnancy, which end with the labour, are only the beginning of expecting the unexpected in terms of how you will relate to the world as a mother.

Whatever happens during pregnancy, remember that when it ends, you get to hold your baby in your arms

I expected to experience more sudden shifts of emotions, which happened alright. On top of that, when my mind needed it most, it would become void of thoughts. The self-image of a person who remembers everything had to change in face of new evidence, such as forgetting the house/office keys and friends names. When having group discussions, I would start expressing my ideas but the more I talked, the more I would feel I fail to make others get my point. Looking people in the eyes who cluelessly nodded was even more discouraging.

The notorious morning sickness made it harder to be on a good mood. The changes of my body shape made me feel ugly and doubt that I would be attractive for my man. And the cherry on top of the cake was the depression that affected me.

In the first trimester, instead of being super, extra happy, I started painting the world around me in black. I was even wondering whether I am in the right relationship. It helped to talk with my doctor who told me that some women get depressed during pregnancy. I was lucky, it ended after the first trimester.

I never imagined I would feel out of place going to restaurants, but as my belly started growing, I did feel that others were looking at me as in “your place is at home, mommy!”. Leaving aside the fact that my mouth was watering when seeing friends eating whatever they wanted and having a glass of wine. Who would have guessed that I would feel isolated?

For an extrovert person, the feeling of loneliness is unbearable. I started looking for a group of pregnant women with whom to share feelings of pregnancy. I joined a class of yoga for pregnant ladies and that was a genius idea. Each class used to give a boost of energy in addition to the energy that I got from socialising with other future mothers.

As the labour day was approaching, I started reading books about giving birth. I wanted to know everything about the birth positions and the relaxation tricks that you can possibly use during labour. I came up with a plan of how I wanted my labour to develop.

When the day came, the pain made me forget about everything I had planned. I had to surrender and let the labour happen as my body was able to handle it. When I was taking a shower after giving birth, I fainted. I felt when they put me in a wheel chair, and as I was regaining my sight, I felt a warm bundle in my arms. I opened widely my eyes and there he was, depending on me to carry him safely to our room.

The bond

As I was trying hard not to drop my baby, I finally realised that I have a new big role – that of a mother. The nine months of pregnancy were not enough to come to this realisation.

Almost two years passed and we have been apart for a half a day, three days in a row. It’s absolutely fascinating how a tiny human being can absorb you so much that you forget about your individuality.

Until three days ago, I unconsciously rejoiced being the indispensable person for him, the one whose name he calls first when he wakes up, when he wants food or when he is in trouble.

Three days ago, I organised a play date with one of his favourite friends, a girl that I’ll call Emma. We were walking towards the playground when he let go of my hand and he grabbed Emma’s hand. It was a strange feeling to be aware of the present but envision the future of how our live will change.

His father and I will remain behind and he’ll go out there in the world, living his life with the girl that his heart has chosen.

It may sound an exaggeration, but I felt useless, unimportant and forgotten. I could not help thinking of the role of mothers in Italian culture, where for men, their mothers are the queens. I wished we lived in Italy.

After giving more thought to it, I concluded that I’ll chose to play a humble role in my child’s life – to be there when needed without asking for anything in return, except maybe a phone call once a week.

The way towards independence starts, being paved with mother’s tears. He’ll go to daycare and I’ll continuously think of him, “Is he happy?”, “Does he have good friends over there?”, “Is he well taken care of?”.

At night, I admire his Angel face framed perfectly by the darkness of the room. I want to compensate for the time when he is away.


How about you? How did the motherhood change you?

You may also like to read the following posts:

What Does It Means To Be a Parent?

How can mothers relax

Carpe Diem? Yes, please, but how?

It’s never easy to be a woman

When negativity sneaked into my heart

Do we know what to expect when we decide to be stay at home mothers?

The Voice that whispered “you are pregnant”