Gratitude Journal: My Mom... and Severe Depression

I probably had one of the best childhoods ever -- two parents that loved my sister, brother, and me unconditionally.  A big farmhouse with a big backyard and lots of animals.  Safety, affection, fun memories.

I had it pretty good.

My teen years?   Lots of growing pains.   I didn't learn until I was about 16 years old that my Mom was severely depressed and had dealt with debilitating depression her entire life.   Whatever a "normal" mom was, I wanted one, and I began carrying feelings of sadness, resentment, bitterness, confusion, you name it, for a very long time.  ...Truth be told, I still wrestle with those feelings every now and then. 

My mom is living on her own now and has been recently transitioning into a new apartment.  The other weekend my daughter and I drove to her home to help her pack.  I begrudgingly thought about how I'd rather be at the pool or cleaning my own apartment, but we showed up, ready to help, and greeted each other with hugs.  We sat together on the carpet, surrounded by newspapers and bubble-wrap, and began boxing up her china dishes for the move.  

We talked.  And laughed.  And I watched her interact with my own daughter, her granddaughter.

I smiled at the thought of how much fun we were having.  We were happy.  I was grateful.  

I was grateful for her campy sense of humor.
I was grateful for her depth.
I was grateful that my mom was so nurturing and gentle with us kids, even with her depression.
I was grateful that she was the first person to introduce me to Jesus.... with bedtime prayers and Bible reading.
I was grateful for her bringing me and my siblings into the world.   
I was grateful for her passing down her love of art to me.
I was grateful for her compassion and sensitivity.
I was grateful for her strength and resolve to hold it together in daily living.
I was grateful for my mom.

watercolor & acrylic, with photos 

I am grateful for my mom.... and those moving boxes.


Do you ever still deal with hurts from your past?
How have they brought beauty into your life?