It’s been 14 years since my mom passed away and I’m still learning new perspectives about her.
Last week I talked with a few friends about the organization of wolf packs/families and how humans are no different. In packs, one alpha is established as is an Omega (“the black sheep”). This black sheep is the target of the packet. (S)he is the scapegoat who absorbs all the anger and tension of the pack. At first glance it looks like members of the pack hate the Omega. (S)he is bitten, attacked, and left with meager scraps after all others have fed. But when this member dies, the pack mourn for long periods of time. Who knows if it’s regret or longing, but it’s evident that this member was important.
For many years I would compare this phenomena to that of the “identified patient” or black sheep of the family. Usually it’s the kid who gets blamed for everything, gets into trouble in school and at home, and/or for whom not much is expected. But last week, I realized that it was my mom who also took this role.
She absorbed all the family secrets, bore the brunt of verbal abuse from the family, was always the last to eat, and always expected to do for others. Her needs were never attended to as she never expressed them and no one asked. Even in her last years she suffered in silence, never mentioning that she couldn’t see well or was fatigued due to her diabetes.
Since she’s passed our family has never been the same. We’ve drifted apart and have struggled to maintain any sort of stability. It has only recently set in that she’s not coming back. I see my father (who never remarried) so sad and alone. He clings to my sister to resume the tasks my mom once did. A poor substitute at best. We’ve been mourning and making attempts to move on, but the reality is, we are not the same. Our family is broken and any sense of what was is now gone. Like my mom, we are all orphans.
The section on wolf packs begins at 4:11 and ends at 7:45.