This past September 21st, I lost my mother.

It has been difficult for me to process and to talk about… I was not prepared for the conflicting emotions that I have experienced since.

Ours was a complex relationship.

She was hard to please and judgmental of everyone around her. My siblings and I would be left with the feeling of not being good enough. My mother was smart as a whip, yet with self-imposed limitations and an admittedly difficult upbringing, could not save herself from her own limiting beliefs.

I strived to make her proud of me and I would walk on eggshells to make our conversations flow. I longed for her approval and, paradoxically, hers was the only one that truly counted. I developed a complex set of coping skills to maintain a bearable relationship with my mother on her terms, as to not suffer her disapproval or rejection.

I grew up with the certainty that my achievements, personal and professional, were coincidental and the awards undeserved. As a result, I rarely pause to celebrate a success, as I will most often believe it to be a mistake and that at any moment, I will be "found out" and identified as a fraud...that I am merely succeeding because I can fake excellence, but that in reality, I am not good at anything.

I became a mother myself without having ever worked on my inner child. Without the clarity and insight that proper therapy could have offered, I did my best with the few tools I had in my tool box. After my divorce, I learned so much about being someone else’s mirror… that our critique and behavior towards those closest to us really has more to do with our own issues, our lack of self-esteem and disappointment in ourselves and our accomplishments.

Heidi Maria Schwarck Daughters

With the knowledge that I have gained through the years, I am conscious now of the generational trauma I inherited from my mother, through the ancestral chain of mothers and grandmothers before me. I have made it my most important self-work and priority to make sure my daughters will have a different experience through me.

It is my ambition that they will have the tools and insight to eradicate what is left of this trauma bond should they themselves become mothers of daughters.

I was fortunate to spend the entire month of August 2021 with my mother, as she, refusing hospitalization, was preparing to die in her home in Copenhagen, Denmark. Reflecting on how to handle the intimate setting and triggering conversations at this occasion, I arrived at composing an essential oil tailored to her, mixing properties of lavender, thyme and frankincense to my favorite (Retrouvé) body oil. I would massage her arms, hands and feet with the oil, and it became a bridge for our souls to connect without words.

I was longing for answers to my many questions, but I stayed silent.

She remains a mystery to me, but the silent eye contact brought us closer than we have ever been, and for this I am thankful.

Today she would have turned 75.

Mother, I miss you and hope now, wherever you are, you are happy and free.

I loved you.

Heidi Schwarck is the founder of Luna Luna, an enchanting collection of clothing for girls. She lives in Los Angeles and is the mother of Zoë, Max, and Luna.



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