Remember when I promised to reveal why Thursday’s are often very hard for me?
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my 84 year old mother over the past months. It comes as a welcome opportunity to really explore the past, to ask questions about why certain things happened the way they did and to share funny quips and stories. These days, even when I may not feel like going over there to sit and talk for three or four hours, I go any way, because I know for a fact, that the days are running out. I have to take my opportunities where they come.
Once upon a time, I shared everything with my Mom. We were the closest of any of the relatives in my immediate family…and then somehow things turned upside down. I still struggle to figure out what changed so much that I ended up estranged from her for over three years. I’m grateful the lines of communications have been opened again for many years, yet sad that some things are never going to change and are outside of my control.
A while ago on a Thursday, we had a tough few hours talking about events of the past. I was floored when out of nowhere she dredged up one of her perceptions of an event I have absolutely NO recollection of. (I’m not even sure it really happened.) The saddest part of all is that this is something she’s held over me for more than thirty years, (I was a senior in high school according to her)….yet she never bothered to talk to me about it. I’ve spent countless hours and thousands of gallons of tears trying to understand what I ever did to deserve the treatment I’ve received. Now it comes out and it turns out to be something that I cannot even remember and even if I did; this is NOT something you lay at the feet of your daughter….ever.
I wish I could be more forthcoming with the details of what was actually said, but at this point I cannot. What I can share, however, is how important it is to never EVER to make assumptions. We lost thirty or more years of a good relationship because she made something up in her mind and then told herself it was true. She never once spoke to me about it. Reflecting back, I see this is a pattern of many years with her.
This morning I’m still struggling trying to make sense of this life I’ve lived. Friends tell me I should write a novel (or two or three) based on my life experiences…if I could make sense of most of it, I might.
What I know beyond a doubt is the surest way to add more pain to your life is to assume you know it all and to not question the reality of your assumptions. Open, honest and clear communication is the secret ingredient in all effective, loving relationships.
Despite the pain I might have today as a result of knowing what I now do, I am still grateful for these times with my mother. I am grateful there is still time to heal the past. I am grateful God has given me the tools I need to process this silly life and grateful I’m able to be open enough to share my feelings.
Prayer for today:
Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.
-César E. Chávez