Friday 27 August 2010

Four day weekend

It's a banking holiday in the UK. And I've taken the opportunity to add a Friday to that, so I'm looking down the right end of a four day weekend.

Today's also the day that my neighbour is moving. It's a little disturbing, since there's an ambulance right next to the moving van and the movers are standing around on the street, talking about the things 19-25 year old lads are talking about, and fiddle with their mobile phones. Let's hope she's okay.

I'm in a peculiar mood today - we visited the parents of our friend who died in April, just to check in on them, see how they are doing. They are over here from Spain, where they live most of the year. There's this notable absence - sitting in Chris's living room, talking to his parents. Sometimes, we're the sum of our losses.

Life's too short, really. It takes such a long time to become who we are, to do the things we were meant to do, that anything shorter than a hundred years isn't nearly enough and an insult to all the hard work we had to put in up to that point.

Being parentless, or should I say motherless, because my father only really contributed some pretty solid DNA, is likely different to be mourning a child. My mother had years that were outside my experience, and in some ways we were completely different. We had our fights like probably only two Taureans can fight.

High drama, snarls, seething accusations. Yet, in a strange way, I was always prepared to grow up very fast. I remember some astonishing insights as a small child, a confidence, clarity and strength that very often kept me in good stead. I grew up very fast as if part of me knew I wouldn't have many people to depend on in my life. Very likely I owe that to my mother, who was - working as she was, and falling desperately in love with one asshole after the other - largely absent, but never left any doubt that she loved me. I guess, apart from the gift of life, that's really the main thing I received. Self-sufficiency because there were precious few resources to back me up, and the feeling that I was loved unconditionally.

Even fourteen years later, there's this "wish she could see that", and I'll likely never lose that feeling. We do carry our dead around, sometimes as a burden, sometimes as a privilege.


  1. You are truly an old soul, Aleks. You made me cry with this entry, mainly, I suppose, because I identify with it so strongly.

    I believe we are the sum of experiences, good and bad and how we handle each one makes us who we are.

    Grief, on any level, is a leveling experience, makes us more human, really, show us we are capable of feeling on more than a superficial level, no matter what we project to the world at large.

    The depth of our grief, for those we really miss, never lessens, at least not for me. It is many years now since my grandmother died and I have not recovered completely, nor do I wish to. Her loss reminds me every day that there is still that 17 year old girl somewhere inside me, hearing of her death for the first time, sliding down the wall in disbelief and wanting to pretend it was the day before.

    Like you, I wish she could see me now (she encouraged my writing like no one else at that time), have met my family, shared in my joys and been there with her ample shoulder when I really needed someone.

    But we move on, don't we? And we're all the more human for our ability to remember those who came before and their contribution to our lives. You realize your mom was so much more than the lessons she taught you and the arguments you had. You do her memory proud for picking yourself up and going on, not just shuffling along but fulfilling her expectations of you - as all mother's have of their children.

    She'd be proud of you, as I am to know you.
    *hugs* to you.

  2. Aleks, you are so loved, both in cyberspace and RL. Thank you for sharing these private, precious moments of your life with me. With us. Your post brought back the memory of the last time my father and I spoke. He'd come to visit me because I'd been ill. All he'd said to me was 'Elaine, Pa loves you'. A few days later I flew out to Australia but had to do the turnaround when I got the phone call. By the time I arrived back, he was in a coma. Dead on the 3rd day.

    Sad as that is, I still think if we have to lose someone dear to us, the last words we heard from them should be "...(your name)...I love you."

    My father gave me that and I'm so thankful. By God's grace, I'll pass that on to my husband and children when my time comes.