Show up and smile

     I have finally made peace with something in the last week…

   My friend Rita would always say to me, “You’re just like your mom.” This statement would always irritate me. I would think to myself: “I’m a better housekeeper, I’ve never relied on a man for money, my work ethic is better, etc.” Any mother/daughter relationship is full of frustrating moments, but our relationship was reversed in my adult life, where I was caring for her and I resented that. I resented it because I felt she could turn it around in two easy steps: get sober and ditch the toxic relationship in her life.

     Backing up a bit, on the second date with my now boyfriend, he said to me: “I’ll never be successful doing what I do for a living, but it’s my passion” – he’s a golf instructor – “So if you’re looking for money, we can just wrap this up right now. In that moment I said, “I’m not worried about the money, I make my own money.”

     I remembered how there were hundreds of people at my mother’s wake. There was at least a half hour wait to view the body, maybe even an hour. “That’s how you measure success” I said, “that’s how you know you had an impact.”

Family time
Family time

     Why were there so many people there if she had issues with addiction and her house wasn’t spotless? My cousin said at the funeral: “It’s because 95% of life is just showing up. Just show up. Just give a hug. Just offer a word of encouragement. Just smile at me. That’s what she did and that’s what she’s remembered for.”

     So yesterday, as Rita and I visited her grave, Rita said once again how much I’m like mother. I didn’t feel any irritation that day. But Rita said something new. She said she kept a man in her life, even if she was poorly treated and emotionally abused, because she wanted him in her life, so badly, she took the abuse. She said: “Siouxsie, you did that too.”

      That’s what I always meant by that. I’m finally in a place far from denial. It is true. But now, I want people to remember that I showed up. That my smile brightened their day. That I offered a hug. That I offered a word of encouragement. This journey has been a long one, but you learn a lot on the scenic route.


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