Quote by Hannah Whitten
I just finished a lovely fantasy novel written by Hannah Whitten, called For the Wolf, and in it the young woman, Red, loses her mother and she says, “I don’t think I can mourn her…I mourn the idea of her, maybe. The gap between what a mother is supposed to be and what she was…. Sometimes you don’t mourn people so much as you mourn who they could’ve been.”
This is a common response among adults with attachment trauma. For those who did not feel seen or known by their caregivers growing up, for those whose families were toxic or abusive, and for those who were not accepted for their gender or sexual identities.
It’s not uncommon that adults have a sense of grief and a sense of loss they are not able to make sense of until they enter therapy, or when thely realize what they did not receive growing up. In these cases, it can actually be a relief to finally understand why they feel the way they feel.
And I think it’s important to normalize this type of response to the loss of a caregiver who failed to actually give care.
It doesn’t make you bad, wrong, evil or amoral to admit that the bond was not there and that the loss experienced is of something that never was, the idea of a loving caregiver.