Writing About My Father, Day 8
My mom just called to check on me cause she knows I’ve been feeling unwell for a while now. She actually calls to check on me quite a bit these days. She called often during the whole furlough situation, and she volunteered to come stay with me for two weeks when I had my fibroid surgery earlier this year.* While some people might think that was a given, it wasn’t. When I was in my late 20s, I had a corneal transplant in my left eye. My friends all presumed my mother would come take care of me, and I was embarrassed to have to explain she wasn’t that kind of mother. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment things changed between us. I usually remember it as happening when I was hospitalized with pneumonia and nearly died in early 2006. But thinking about it today, I realized the change had happened before that. She had actually come to stay with me for Thanksgiving just weeks before I became ill. It was the first time that I can remember her coming to stay with me since I lived in Chicago, and back then, it was only because she was coming to town for some sort of event. The point is, something changed. I don’t know what and I don’t know why, but she knows a lot more about my life now than she did in the first 36 or so years when the moat between us seemed uncrossable. Our relationship is not perfect: there are still times when I wish she’d be more empathetic and understanding and less “my road or the high road” but I do appreciate that she’s trying. I wish I could figure out what made her want to try–was it something I said, something I did? Why hasn’t what happened with my mother happened to my father? What is it that makes people change? And what’s my responsibility toward effecting that change? And do I even want to, or is that just more pretending that everything’s all right? It’s something to do with getting past the anger, but as I’ve barely started to apprehend the anger in the first place, I can’t imagine how one gets past it. Everyone says, “Forgive.” It’s a nice word, but a confounding, painful, catastrophic process, and there’s no easy way to start, is there?
*Full disclosure: I was not happy about my mother coming to stay with me for two weeks as I expected we’d spend every day fighting cause she likes things her way and I like them mine. Thankfully, I was wrong. She even got me to watch The Bachelor with her.