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Never Ending Motherhood

May 7, 2022

No one asks to be born. We just are. Our wiring demands identity, so parents are impossibly important to our understanding. Impossible because they are us, invisible and in undeniable measure, while they are completely distinct from who we are. Especially when they are dead.

So we now have “Siblings Day”, right now “Mothers Day” and soon, “Fathers Day” all to enable touching what is fully unknowable: where our parents end, and where we begin.

My only sibling is 77. As of this year she is alone, after almost 60 years with someone. We saw each other for the first time since the year our mother died, over 20 years ago, at the death of the love of her life. Surrounded by her love’s family she said to me “Can I email you every day, just to know that I am not alone?”

“Of course!”

So every noontime, give or take, I receive “I am still here, Love…”

Despite all around her, she is alone, again, after 60 years. The last time she was was alone was for the five years before she met the love of her life, when our childhood rendered our lives a coping survival – despite good health, fully funded and in comfort. It was survival because what love was to our parents was not what love was to their children.

Validation through your children is simply invalid.

When your children do not become you, there are two choices, acceptance or judgment. Our parents were somehow broken and needed to judge their children, rather than themselves.

Of course, drinking was part of it – it was a time when “Having a drink” was as normal as “Having Breakfast”. But one parent did not stop until he was fully drunk, every day of life after fighting in World War 2 and until he was in the hospital where he would die.

His love of his life, our mother, could not offer anything but support. To him. Her children were her disappointment because they were not what her husband had wanted. My sister, the oldest, was in every way what was good in the eyes of the world. She has never had a drink, smoked anything, or hurt anyone. But as she entered the time of judging children in mid-20th century America, the early teenage years, the grades she earned were not those our father grew up banking his identity on. She then obsessed on them, but never became our father. But worse, my brother followed, and he was not even interested in grades. Thus the loss of their parents was long and complicated.

I was simply quiet and studied. When my sister left a month before graduating from a very nice private high school and going to a very nice college to be on her own in California, and my brother descended into the mind alteration of his father, but with more varied distractions, I was left fully alone, in every way.

If a sad chapter was finished when I was shipped to Buffalo for high school, or my sister found her love, or my brother transgendered to be my sister, then the book could have been closed for each of us, at any time of resolution.

But motherhood is unending.

Our loss is still our loss. My younger sister ended a life of irrational rationalization 5 years ago, and my older sister texts me every day, and I text her back: “Love”.

When parents are consumed with themselves, there is no room for the children who never asked to be born. That disconnect from the only connection a child initially has, is forever. That break happened to my father in his first 6 years of life, after his mother died trying not to have his sibling.

But my mother’s break came when, somehow, her marriage meant more than her children. That reality is fresh with me as I type this, never ending.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2022 7:31 am

    Love

  2. May 10, 2022 7:18 am

    Duo, This was a thoughtful, beautiful piece. I’m so sorry for your sister. Karen

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