My mother had no tolerance for my crying.
“If anyone looks at Anjuelle, she cries,” was how she described me.
She wanted to instill in me a mental toughness–what she had.
I was not going for it.
And so I cried.
In that a memoir, and the structure of any narrative, consists of scenes, I must write various scenes of my life, those that most depict my suffering for which I offer forgiveness and hold compassion for my mother.
This is hard. Not simply because I am writing of my mother, and about myself. The challenge lies in my lack of certainty, the ambiguity of my mother’s actions, and thus my ambivalence.
It is said that an autobiography comprise the story of a life and that memoir consists of a story from a life. A life can hold, and a person can write, many memoirs. But we have only one telling of the factual events constituting our life.
As a story from a life, a memoir consists of scenes from that life, or more importantly, moments from the aspect, area, or slice of our life that one is focusing upon.
The dimension of life
Some people become more like their aggressors and oppressors. We call this identification with the oppressor. It is easy to view oppressors and attackers as stronger and possessing more power than we, their victims.
Abused children are the victims of their parents’ anger and aggression.
We’re not encouraged to say, “I’m sorry,” in America, even when we are wrong, have made a mistake and our mistake has injured another, and or even ourselves.
I’m always taken with how much we often count the need to forgive ourselves for past mistakes when discussing those for whom we would do well to hold compassion.
It’s as if American societal beliefs hold to an erroneous myth that life can be somehow lived in a clear and uninterrupted straight line, that we can avoid any and all detours, those erected by others and those we might take should events become too complicated.
From where did we get this belief, never mind how faulty?
The degree to which we claim to be a progressive society
There are so many questions I would have loved to ask my mother before she died, and listened to her answers.
My mother died when I was 36 yrs. old. Not that I’m a sage at 53 years old, but I did not know anything of what I have learned in the nearly twenty years that have come and gone since she transitioned from this life into what lies next.
It would have been helpful to listen to her describe what she loved most and expound on that. Knowing what brought her the greatest joy, I feel, would have offered a great path to discovering what brought her the most pain.
My mother was not
When two years ago, our eldest daughter asked to moved back home I was thrilled.
Having just earned a graduate degree and about to begin law school she expressed the desire to return to a more laid back lifestyle than she had experienced when a coed and then graduate student living in the city.
My excitement at having our first born home came not simply from 0ur enjoyment of having her around to share and do activities with, but with the additional idea that she truly liked being with her father and most specifically me, her mother.
The relationship I shared with my mother, now nearly 16 years deceased,