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I found a letter Mom had written to me in the late 90’s when I had been living in Italy for eight weeks or so. It was a letter expressing her devastation at my leaving,and it devastated me as I read it….as I read it and reread it and reread it again and again and again.I can barely hold it in my hands without great pools of tears forming in my eyes. And just like the image of Mom lying face down in her kitchen that moment I found her,that letter will not leave me now,even for a short while. Like a hurtful comment once said then enters the brain and will never,ever leave,so that letter has now entered my psyche and continues to form itself into my being.

For so long,all of my life and probably what she believed to be the most significant part of hers,there was just me and her. Mom and me against the world! Well,we were each others worlds. My father lived about a mile or so away from our cottage deep in the heart of the Irish countryside. I met him once when I was a child….just once. In the letter,she expresses how happy she is that I ‘finallly’ made contact with my Dad. When I was in Italy I rang him from a phonebox outside the apartment where I was staying.He lives in his pub in London-still. There was something about being away from home and Mom and everything I was familiar with…it made me want to seek out what I always thought of as ‘my other half.’ He was one half of my identity,half of the person I was,half my family,half my looks…but half of nothing is still nothing,at the end of the day. I didn’t know that then.

On the phone,he was hesitant. I said helloh,told him who I was. It was an extraordinary experience for me. I’d been 5 or 6 when I’d met him years before. I was an adult now. I think his voice sounded more or less the same. I had’nt forgotten…I could not forget the most significant meeting of my life up to that point…maybe still. He sounded happy…or did he? I’m not really sure…I think he did.Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe shock is closer to the mark…nervous shock. I didn’t hear from him again.

It was something that played on Mom’s mind,I believe,the possibility that I may have suffered emotionally as a result of my not knowing my Dad. In the letter she tries to explain to me that after she told him about me when I was 5,he never asked her about me again. She said whenever they bumped into each other after she told him,she was always waiting for him to ask about me…but he never did. She didn’t know why. I didn’t know why either,I still don’t. She wondered if it was just because he was a man,’and men are like that.’ I could feel her hurt burning through the paper on which her words were written,burning through her heart through her pen through the paper on which her words fell and through my hand the hand I held her words in and up through my arm and into my heart,searing into my heart,burning one pain into another,the searing pain of losing who I am-Mom-hissing into the pain of never having half of who I thought I was…

The hurt of wondering ‘why?’ never leaves. Why? Why did he never care? Why did he never want to know me,me,his little girl,his very own flesh and blood-his daughter? Did he ever wonder how I was,if I was happy or sad or…ok or whatever?  In all the life I’ve lived and all the things which I’ve lived through I still cannot understand the mentality of a parent who displays no love for their children. It isn’t natural,it isn’t normal,it cannot be normal or natural to feel no love for your child…And sometimes I wonder how I could have been borne of such a mentality,me who is normal and me who would slit my own throat if I had to,to save my child. Perhaps in a way he has slit his own throat in his life,by choosing to walk the path I wasn’t walking along. Warm blood does not flow through his veins,it cannot….there is cold as cold as ice instead…cold as cold as him,and it does not flow,it cannot…instead it is stagnant and stale…

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