Wednesday, June 4, 2008


(I’ve been thinking about this since my last trip to Florida, and with a recent thread on one of the myriad discussion groups that I am part of, I finally have the impetus to put it in words.)

Some time ago, long enough ago that I was not yet comfortable referring to myself as a woman (as opposed to girl), but was already mother to a child, I had a conversation with my Grandmother. I was complaining about how difficult it was to be the oldest child of “Saint Irene.” (for those of you coming late to the story, my mother died, after a long illness, before her 40th birthday.) My Grandmother retorted “Your mother was no saint!” And then, proceeded to tell me how wonderful was my mother was. Although this was of no help to me at the time (and in fact, made me feel worse), I let my Grandmother talk, after all, my mother was her oldest child, and even in the mood I was in, I knew that little could compare to the pain of watching your child struggle and die, and know all the time that there is nothing you can do for her.

Over the years, at family gatherings, occasionally the subject of my mother would come up. And you will have to forgive me, if I sometimes wondered why the church hadn’t started the beatification process, yet. (the first saints were Jewish, weren’t they?)

Last month, I attended a family funeral. This was for someone on my Father’s side of the family. My mother has been dead for nearly 25 years, my father has remarried. Four people came up to me to tell me how they missed my mother, and the great affect she had had on them, how wonderful she was, how smart, how kind, how beautiful. What I want to know now is:


I am only human, and can only try to learn from the mistakes of others. But I am going to try much harder to let the people with whom I come in contact, that I appreciate them, and why. To any of you who are reading this, Thank you, for sparing some of your time to read my musings. For those of you whom I have more direct contact, I can (and will try to be) more specific.


Anonymous said...

wow.. very good point !


YogaAbba said...

Hi FB,

I think the fact that we don't share positive feelings we have about others with them stems from the general alienation amongst people in our society. The modern maternity ward, for example, separates the child and mother from the moment of birth (that design by the way was pushed by the formula companies, who donated money to build those maternity wards, to discourage breastfeeding). This basic pattern gets repeated over and over again. Take, for example, the way our suburbs are designed (the layout of the houses fosters a sense of separation). And the the artifically low price of fossil fuels and encouragement by the auto industry of the interstate highway system that has made it so "easy" for families to live so far apart.

The healing of this kind of separation comes precisely from making the kinds of observation you make and, on a moment-to-moment case by case basis, communicating feelings better.

I also need to observe that I think we tend to re-live major losses (your loss of your mother at such a young age, for example) when other losses (the death of your uncle) occur. So much of life is about our attachments and letting go of them, painful as that is, sometimes over long periods of time . . .