by jexmas on December 13, 2010

I am a rolling stone. I gather no moss. Every day is new and nothing sticks. There is no accumulation of anything worth keeping. There is no foundation. Our house is a house of cards. Standing at the gate and looking at our house and garden and the swimming pool, I swear they look like stable structures, but they are just a shell, a veneer obscuring what was not possible in our family. None of us could make anything worth something. None of us wanted to talk about yesterday or what we thought of our achievements of the day before. None of us wanted to encourage each other to keep trying, to build on what we had started. My father put up the walls of our house around an idea of what a family should be.
It seems strange to think of our lives like this because there were permanent, concrete things we did, like build and knit and sew actual things and these things prove we existed. So we existed.
One of the last things my mother said was “My life was a waste.” My response to her words was a profound sense of hopelessness and a sad and futile wish to help her see her life differently; but, even if I could have seen her life differently, it would have made no difference to her. Only she could have seen it differently and she chose not to.
Some women who are unsatisfied in life feel their mothers are frustrating or inadequate in a profoundly unfulfilling way and turn to their fathers to try and get some purchase on life. When their fathers are clueless and do not understand the value of saying simply, “I am here,” the child clings, clings, and clings to the wish he would. By clinging, the child defends against having to let go. Some people never let go because holding on means keeping at least some hope alive. My mother let go and she died knowing her life was a waste, regardless of what anyone else might think.

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