Posts Tagged 'love'

A small personal history

May 13 is Mothers’ Day this year. May 13 also happens to be my mother’s yahrzeit. *rueful smile* My mother, may her memory be blessed, always understood the importance of timing. As an actress she knew that timing, delivery and performance were key to making a lasting impact. She always wanted everything to be “all about her”. With remarkable timing, she has ‘captured’ Mothers’ Day. I will never reach this date without thinking of her and reflecting on our lives together. (To be fair, my father also made sure I’d never forget his yahrzeit either – I turned 50 sitting shiva, instead of throwing the big birthday blow-out I’d started planning.)

I used to have such fun with my mother. When I was a toddler I wanted to grow up and be just like her. I wiggled my way into her newspaper interview (what an adorable photo we made). I cried at a play when she, in character, cried. My father had to carry me out. 🙂 I cued her for her plays, I went to every show she was in, I envied the times she and my big sister would go out shopping without me.

Even through grade school and high school we were best buddies. I could tell her any and every thing. My friends all thought she was incredibly cool and would confide in her. When I went off to college she wrote me letters every week, and sent me zillions of clippings from the newspaper. *laughing* My beloved advisor once said that my mother was the only mother he knew who could be replaced by a subscription to the NY Times. 🙂 She came out to visit me at college and I was so proud to introduce her to everyone.

I graduated, moved back home for grad school, got married, stayed home until my husband also graduated. All that time my mother and I played together, had fun, had key jokes (Mickey’s Donut Land was one), traditional shopping trips (Black Friday after Thanksgiving – a day we loved to go out because we didn’t NEED anything so we could be relaxed while everyone around us went crazy).

My husband and I bought a house in the same town where I was born, grew up, where my parents lived, where my sister and her husband lived. We were a very close family. We did a lot with my parents – my husband and father were close, both engineers, liking sports, politics, conversation. My son was born and Grandma and PopPop took care of him regularly.

But somewhere along the line things began to change. The seeds were always there. I have an ugly story about my graduation present from college. There were some other harsh memories of things said, selfish behavior, controlling emotions. Beginning after college I went into therapy. Years and years of therapy. What I learned there was to be NOT my mother. What I learned and began to see was how unhappy she was, how emotionally damaged she was from her childhood experiences. I had absorbed ALL of that myself, modeled myself that way, being just like her. But I wasn’t happy. She wasn’t happy. I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be happy more than I didn’t want to have to change myself. I spent years and years and years learning how to undo the self-destructive patterns.

As I changed, I saw my mother differently. I saw her unhappiness, and she always admitted that she was not happy. But she refused to look at herself for the source. She always felt that happiness is derived externally. I think too that she became more and more her negative qualities – selfish, emotionally controlling, putting down others to feel as if she were better, hurtful comments trying to be funny. The more time I spent with her, the worse I would feel. A lot of negativity and anger radiated from her. It was draining and dispiriting.

But it was tolerable. My father was there, my sister, her husband, her daughter, my husband, my son – we were family and we saw each other regularly and happily. Okay, sometimes annoyingly too. 🙂 After all, we were family.

You need to understand. My father adored my mother. He thought she was wonderful. One time my sister and I were talking and laughing with him and we both mentioned how we heard our mother “talking out of our mouths” and he didn’t understand why we thought that was NOT a good thing. I love you so much, Daddy. He would do anything for her. He was her security. He was her rock. She was the glamorous butterfly, flitting and flirting and exciting but she would always come home to him – her safe haven.

And then my father became ill, unable to travel a lot. My mother was cruel. Comments like “well we can’t do this now because of you”. It got worse. He was in the hospital, ill. She didn’t visit him because she didn’t feel up to it. My sister and I were sitting shifts at his bed, dropping in exhaustion so that he would not be alone but she couldn’t be troubled. Had the roles been reversed, he’d have been there every day, dragging a lung machine and any other apparatus just to be with her. When he finally came home, she wouldn’t let him back into their room. He lived downstairs on a hospital bed. She did cruel things like move his toaster to a storage area because it was “in her way”. Every morning he’d have to struggle with his walker to get the toaster, bring it out to the counter, and then struggle to bring it back. She raged when we added safety bars to the bathroom for him. It was ugly. Very very ugly.

She was so angry. So afraid. She couldn’t forgive him for being human and not being her rock. She was terrified. He was her safe haven. He was her security. Her life, as she saw it, was evaporating rapidly.

Then he died.

I’d like to say that things improved but that is not what happened. She turned her fear-fueled anger on my sister and me. There were more cruel words and selfish selfish behavior. It was very hard for several years, but she was our mother, and we loved her, and you do what you have to do. She was still active, going into the city for theater and art and friends.

Suddenly she was ill, in the hospital, emergency surgery – a perforated ulcer. Who even knew she had an ulcer? Recovery was slow, her spirits were poor. We tried to keep her home, but we had to keep upping her in-home care. Finally we moved her to a nursing home. The odd thing is, in hindsight, we think maybe she’d have wanted that immediately. We moved her to a second, better nursing home when it was available. And it was there, finally, that for me, things began to heal.

I could visit her, chat with her, talk to her as we had in the past. There were flashes of my mother there, her sense of humor, her intelligence. We’d have cheese and crackers, drink coffee, eat chocolate. I could even classify some visits as enjoyable. My own anger at her for her treatment of my father began to ease. My anger at her for her lack of commitment to trying to recover from her surgery began to ease. My compassion became dominant, as I saw her living the very life I knew she had dreaded forever.

She died last year, suddenly, the day before Mothers’ Day. On Sunday she’d been okay. On Saturday she was dead.

I miss her. When I think of her now, I don’t think of those last 12 years or so. I think of the fun things we did. Our little jokes. That she’d like this weather. She’d like knowing this event. When the rabbi came to talk to us about her in preparation for the funeral, he asked me if I had forgiven her. I thought about it for a moment and told him no, I had not. I will probably NEVER forgive her for how she treated my father. But that was not the whole of my relationship with her, even if it did poison so much of our time together. I am grateful for that last year in the nursing home. We had time to sit together. Smile. It was quiet then and peaceful and there was room for love and warmth. Time and space for the positive interactions to flourish and bloom. When they say time is the great healer, I think this might be what they mean.

I miss you, Mom. Happy mothers’ day.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve told you goodbye. I’ve told you that it’s not going to work out for us. I’ve done the “drama queen” thing. I’ve raged to friends. I’ve wept. It’s been nearly two years. I was always so good at protecting my heart, until you came along. Would I roll the clock back and wish that I’d never found virtual worlds, found you? No. But I’m telling you – this on-again, off-again stuff is making me crazy.

Right from the start I was blinded. People warned me. I said, “Don’t worry. I’m a big girl. I know what I’m doing.” And I went right on. You came along a little more slowly, but soon you were as hot as I was. It was rocky at the start, but then we hit our stride. Every day was exciting. And then. Then. It cooled down. Things just weren’t “happening” for us. Oh sure, we were together every day. But there was no thrill. No joy. No reason to wake up smiling. But we never called it quits. We got lucky. The passion, the excitement, the thrill all came back. You were everything to me – sun, moon, stars, breathing. I thought we were really going to make it. This was IT. We’d beat those virtual relationship odds. We’d be the ones to prove to everyone that it DOES workout.

And then……. it died. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I expected more from you than you could give. Maybe you were never what I thought you were. This summer I realized that I was wasting my time on you. We weren’t going anywhere together. We were as so many others had been. Done. Used up. Over. So I broke up. I said goodbye. Unfortunately, I only did that logically. My heart still belonged to you. So it was a hard few months.

The last several weeks I’d found a new interest to fill the time that had been filled with you. I have begun slowly to do other things, reach out to different people. Emotionally I had moved on. I was, dare I say it, feeling “free”. Darn you. Darn you darn you darn you. You called me this week. You said “We’ll just meet. No big deal. Really. Just talk.” I can’t say no to you.

We met. Oh my word, the difficulties in arranging a place to meet. Setting the time, getting together. It wasn’t like old times – so much of our usual routine was gone. But….. we were together again. Yes, we slipped right back into the groove. It felt so right. It felt so good. How could I ever think that I didn’t still love you? That I was “free”? Free???? OMG – I would be chained, not free, without you.

/me smiles. You know, don’t you, dear reader? I am talking about my project. My beloved, infuriating collaboration tool project. I demo’d it to someone new this week. I had no hope of anything happening. I was asked to demo, so I would demo. The project is dead. I’ve lost my volunteer team – they’ve all moved on. I have other work I need to do. I found what I thought might be an interesting career path. But…. she liked the demo. She wants us to demo it to a technical group. She wants to discuss it more for the original concept we’d had. I know, I know. Calm down, don’t get excited. But oh the thrill. The joy. While I played the 1 minute video that was shown to 4000 people this past June, other folk from the building walked into the conference room. They stopped talking and watched the screen, rapt. They said something like “How come our stuff is so dull and you get to do all the exciting stuff?”

Yes. You are exciting. You make me come alive. You are my passion. I can turn and try to walk away. But I will always love you. I will always come back to you, given any faint encouragement at all. Even if we never go any further than what we do now – the occasional demo, I count you as my true love. I am grateful, proud and thrilled that you are a part of my life.

And oh world please…… maybe THIS time we will find a home?

Did I Hear What You Said?

When I was growing up, my mother gave me two wonderful books. I wanted to post a picture of the covers but they have the word “copyrighted” on the pictures on Amazon, so I’m guessing that means I shouldn’t cut and paste the picture. *grin* Both books are by Sesyle Johnson and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. They were books on manners or, as described inside the cover: “A Handbook of Etiquette for Young Ladies and Gentlemen to be Used as a Guide for Everyday Social Behavior”. The one book, What Do You Say, Dear?, explained the proper response a polite person would say for a given situation. The other, What Do you Do, Dear?, (Proper Conduct for all Occasions) taught the correct action to be performed. *grin* Oh my, I loved them. They were funny and witty. And they told me exactly what to say and do. I didn’t have to figure it out for myself if perchance the Queen fed me too much spaghetti to fit in my chair. If I followed these guidelines, I would always be secure in my interactions with others.

I bet you think this is going to be a rant on manners, don’t you? Hah! Fooled you.

Life was simpler then. I think. It could be reduced to formulas. But I suppose the meanings behind the words were as obscure then as they often are now. You see – I KNOW what I mean when I say or do something. So if YOU say or do that, well then, obviously you mean the same thing I do, right? Errrm, no. It has taken me a very long time, and sometimes I still mess it up, but just because we do/say the same thing, does not mean that we are attempting to convey the same message.

My father rarely said to my mother “I love you”. He used to tease her (and she used to joke) that he already TOLD her he loved her, she knew that, why did he need to repeat himself? Never mind that my mother would have loved to hear it many times a day, probably. (I don’t know – maybe she would have gotten bored of hearing it? Who knows now, right? *smile* ) But…. everyday in so many ways he showed his love through actions. You simply had to decipher his code and hear HOW he said it. He warmed her car and scraped the ice every day in winter. She always had the groceries she liked (he did the grocery shopping). He supported her acting career, taking over household chores without complaining to give her space. It was so clear to me.

I fret at times, get insecure. Yeah, *grin*, I get insecure about being loved, being liked, about people caring. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, it’s another to feel it inside always. Many of the people I have met in SL I’ve not met in the atomic world. I only know them through the written word, the occasional voice chat. I love many of them. On cold dreary fragile days, however, I worry that I am wrong, they don’t care, I shouldn’t bother them, it’s not reciprocated. The other day the proverbial light broke through the clouds. I got it. This one took the time to send me a one-line email/IM to say hi. I was focused on the shortness, missing the fact that time was taken not only to think of me, but to act on it. Not everyone likes to blither on and on (/me clears throat, abashed). That one pinged me after not chatting for a week and when I said “what’s up?” said “nothing, just wanted to say hi” and that was all you wrote. The other one, I realize, always responds extremely quickly when I IM. I could go on and on. So could you, dear reader. Everyone has their own way of saying “you are special to me”. Those responses seem to be such trivial actions. And, in a sense, if it were I doing them, yeah, I’d probably say a lot more if I were trying to convey importance. *laugh* But some people just don’t talk a lot. Some people are really busy. Some people are very comfortable with long periods of silence.

Is there a point to this blog? If there is any point, it really goes all the way back to one of Botgirl’s posts. Or it’s the famous don’t judge someone til you’ve walked in their shoes. Take a deep breath. Pause. Think. Try to hear what was sent and not what was received.

It can be said in so many ways. I love you.

I sat on this post for many days. I wasn’t completely satisfied or even certain that it said what I wanted to say. Not that I am sure what I want to say. But I think it needs one more paragraph.

I CAN hear you. As someone said to me on a different subject – we speak the same language but a different dialect. But. Sometimes it’s not enough to hear the message. Sometimes the medium is the message. And sometimes – I need to hear it in my dialect.

So I guess it comes full circle. I CAN hear your dialect. But sometimes, do try to use mine. I think we all need both sides of that equation.

A Positive Love Story

I’m cheating again…. directing to you to other people’s blogs and articles. But when I find something that is so articulate, so right-on-target, something that I wish I had written – well, then I figure it’s my obligation to send you there.

Dusan Writer’s Metaverse is one of the blogs that I follow regularly. He writes about virtual worlds, not just about SL. I have learned many interesting things about OpenSim and the discussions on interoperability. There have been posts on corporations doing business in SL, a topic of great interest to me.

But yesterday’s post is on a subject of interest to everyone – love. Specifically: Love in a Virtual World. Apparently Newsweek has posted an article, “A Geek Love Story”, about 2 people who met in SL, formed a partnership in SL, then ultimately became RL partners as well. Except….. SHE lives in the US and HE lives in Wales, and they have only met in the atomic world 3 times in the past 4 years. But it works.

Speaking of love, and seemingly impossible relationships, and physical barriers to meeting: Frenis is now a week old. 🙂 He’s growing up, changing. He doesn’t look so much like a fluffy chick. I think Mallory approves.
frenis-at-1-week


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