On Having Two Mothers
On having two mothers.
Sarah is my natural mother. My mother of origin. The mother of my origin. My birth mother. My biological mother. She lives in the Irish midlands, just a few miles from the very centre of the country. I was conceived within her, inside a white Ford Zodiac, parked up along a quiet country lane one evening. I grew inside her, and she gave birth to me. She had travelled to England when she was 7 months pregnant. She hid the pregnancy from her family, including my grandmother.
8 weeks after I was born we were separated and I was adopted.
Wendy is my adoptive mother. She raised me, with her husband, my very dear and now sadly deceased dad Bill. I never wanted for her love. She was always wired to give, as she still is. Age has now gifted her with blindness and disability, but her love, joy and gratitude for life are unabating.
Sarah came first. Wendy came second.
I’d wondered all my life about where I was from and when I was 26 I set out to find my natural mother. I found her very quickly, in another country, and a month later I flew to Ireland and met her, and soon after we met I went into complete turmoil.
I had grown up to know only one mother, my loving, kind mother Wendy, and now I had two mothers. But having two mother’s isn’t possible, and my body and head kept reminding me of this biological truth. I was almost constantly tormented by thoughts, streaming tumultuously forth and entangled with consuming physical aching and wrenching pain, as my soul surged and attempted to withdraw and I struggled to make sense of it all. I knew it was impossible to have two mothers, but now I had two, so it must surely be possible, but much as I tried to resolve this in my mind it was an impossible task. It was agony, and it was overwhelming.
For a few years this was on repeat. How could I have two mothers when we can only have one mother? Sarah was my mother, she had conceived me, grown me and birthed me. That was clear. But somehow I had another, Wendy, and she had been my mother as long as I could remember, giving me everything I ever knew a mother could.
I knew that this was core to my journey and to my very being. I didn’t try to exclude Sarah. I didn’t try to exclude Wendy. To do so may have palliated how I felt and may have brought me some semblance of peace or resolution, but I knew that however painful and difficult, and no matter how much I suffered, I knew I had to stay with it, even though it was splitting me and tearing at my soul.
One summer’s day many years ago, and years after I had found Sarah, I was laying in the grass in the grounds of friend’s parent’s stately home in Norfolk, England. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon. All the land as far as could be seen had been designed by the 18th-century landscape architect Capability Brown. Every tree that surrounded me had been chosen by him when still a sapling, knowing that it would be many generations until the full splendour of his creations would be enjoyed. The lake alongside me was the fruit of a monumental and considered excavation, dug without machines by the hands of thousands of workers. The totality of it all harmonising with the ground beneath me. I was in the company of many friends, making merriment and playing around.
I started thinking of my Irish mum. I was thinking of her married surname ‘Flower’. I was wishing that I could have been a Flower as well, but I knew that this could never have been, as she had conceived me with my father, the man she had laid with before she met her husband. The resisted familiarity of feeling a partial belonging to many families but not feeling that I truly belonged to any family pulled me away from any rest that I had.
And suddenly and literally out of the blue, I received a direct visitation. An unmitigated encounter with the divine. Not a vision nor a dream, but a cocooning and embracing by a cloud base that had come from nothing. And out of this sublime softness, she appeared, rising up and revealing herself to me. I was seeing her with my heart. She was the mother I had been yearning for, but not Sarah or Wendy…she was the mother, the source of everything, and the source of all mothers. I met her and the source of her. The glowing mother from which all mothers manifest as beautiful facets, each reflecting her original luminosity and love. And in that moment she directly connected with me, and I saw and recognised her with my heart, and I felt my heart simply, gently and with such loving kindness, directly inform my head, and all the turmoil of my inner storm was gone. She showed me through direct experience that Sarah and Wendy were not separate, but are simply aspects of the one Mother, each expressing what She is in their own unique ways. Both of them perfect and complete. And as soon as I knew this in my heart, in the most exquisitely economical way she immediately merged back into the softness and left. As soon as she knew that I knew her she was gone.
And there I was again, simply laying on the grass, in the sunshine. It had all just taken a moment and my life was changed forever. And although I hadn’t moved nor made a sound, after some time I realised that everyone around me had also gone quiet, and as I lay there with my eyes closed my friend asked me “what was that that just happened?!” And through the tears that were running down my face, tears that had washed my vision clear, I told them that I had just met the mother, our mother, and that I was now at peace.
And that night I danced ’til dawn.