Sunday, 22 January 2006

Hugged in love

This post re-published December 2012

Following up from my last post I need to change my tone. I don't want to stay in the dark and negative because I lead a wonderful and charmed life now. Mr Doris has been extra amazing these last few days and has placed plates of food on my lap and cups of tea on my desk; given me hugs and encouragement; and just let me get on with my emails and hours long phone calls.

My aunts in the UK, and one in particular makes me feel all loved-up as she has helped me work through my issues. It can't have been easy for her especially as she was warming to my mother - her sister - but I ended up talking about the frying pan incident. We got off the phone in the early hours of this morning!

And then there are my wonderful friends and blogger friends. I really do feel hugged in love which I especially needed this last day or so. I am grateful for the messages that have reached out to me.

Yesterday with my mother (my parents) went spectacularly well. So much so that I am big-headedly ready to step up to the podium for my awards for extreme diplomacy; people handling; and loving care beyond the call of duty. My mother went through the mill of emotions and ended up over-drinking and blotto. She was incredibly happy and kept thanking me and acknowledging all that I had done in bringing the family together and it was wonderful and that it was me that had done all this and she was grateful. By the end of the day she was revising negative opinions about family members but I don't expect Rome was built in a day and so there is a path for her to tread. She may wake up today in a completely different frame of mind but I am not thinking about that. She accepted that I had contact with all her sisters and understood (at least she did yesterday!) that the key was that the time was right now but that were too many sensitivities before for me to say anything. She thought I had had a huge burden and likened this all to winning the lottery!

Yesterday was also amazing because it was the first time my little sister (a grown woman of 36) showed any interest in family outside of ours. That was an incredible bonus.

However, in the last 5 minutes before I left I had a quiet word with just my sister to clarify a few details and the whole thing for me went pear shaped. She made me "just say it" about what my cousin had said and extraordinarily she seemed to completely side-line it. What I heard was not even a shock in her voice for me (not that I was looking for gushing sympathy or anything) but I didn't expect to have her throw at me that I should understand what my mother had gone through herself as a kid and I shouldn't expect her to have sorted herself out. I am not sure even if that was what came out and I was terribly confused and very upset last night. My sister knew I was upset and hugged me a couple of times.

I expressed concern how much contact our mother had with my sister's young children and did she not see the abusive behaviour going on? It was as if I was bitching back and my sister insisted that my mother never hit them and I asked if the pulling, shoving, dragging and poking that sometimes goes on is OK? Into this already clouded issue I threw in my concerns for my niece and nephew and my sis assured me that they know that their grandmother is mad. As if that is OK then. She thought my nephew's foul mouth and violence was just symptomatic of the area they lived in! I hugged my sister a couple of times but in the end had to leave quite quickly trying to hold myself together. She telephoned Mr Doris to warn him and then she phoned me after I had got home but I still could not speak to her without crying.

After such an incredible and wonderful day I fell down a deep dark hole. A maelstrom and I'm trying to work out right and wrong. Bouncing between wanting acknowledgement like a child having a tantrum and taking the mature approach of understanding what motivated my mother.

Luckily the first half hour of the journey was on dark roads with little or no street lights. My son sat in the front seat scouring the Argos catalogue using the light of his mobile phone blissfully unaware I was bawling my eyes out. I had forgotten how well I could sob without being found out. Bizarre the details one thinks. Occasionally he'd express the merits of this or that skate board and which he would get, and then when he moved on to questioning gravity and other fine subjects I finally calmed down.

Whatever I have been through, I have broken the cycle. My son has the self-esteem of a giant and whatever young adulthood has to throw at him he has had a good grounding. My daughter is slightly different and I feel that I have some things to heal between us - and want to. But ultimately, she is lovely and is doing well.

Thank you World for the beautiful life I have, for I have been truly blessed. :-)


Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...
wow so profound. just droppin by. thanks
Ally said...
You are a pretty amazing person, Doris. [*hugs*].
Badaunt said...
Lovely. You are an amazing person.

(Maybe your son was questioning gravity because he prefers levity.)
Cheryl said...

We are all broken, fragile souls.
So did you, for one second, imagine you would come out of this to the cold light of day, seeing yourself as less broken than the rest? That you would see your own strength?

We all see it, I'm so glad you can too.

Sarah said...
*hugs* You are wonderful and amazing and we all love you, Doris.
Minerva said...
Dear Doris,
You show such incredible strength and honesty in showing us so much..and it sounds really, really painful..

Well done you for juggling so many different people, so many different realities - it isn't surprising that there is such a huge emotional comeback - be good to yourself.. You sound as if you deserve it,

Neutron said...
I have just started reading here so I don't yet know "the rest of the story" but 'breaking the cycle' is normally a very good start...
Astryngia said...
Siblings have very different experiences of their parents - not just cos they are different people but because they arrive at a different time in their family's history. Your sister's truth is bound to be different to yours - she simply didn't have the same experience.

If she escaped the worst of it, she won't have the same 'stuff' to process or even to acknowledge. Neither of you will understand the other if you think you are looking through the same lens at the same set of circumstances, cos you aren't.

And if she's still in denial, then stating facts won't reach her. I know that, having been in denial myself!!!

But you've planted the seeds with regard to her children, that's all you can hope to do.
Hugs as ever
Writer Mom said...
Incredible of you to think of the next generation...but then, not surprising. You're always looking out for others.
I suspect even if your sister tried coming across 'on top of the situation,' it put a flag up in her mind. How could she have the kids around your mother from now on without your voice of caution in there? You have protected your own, and bravely.

Astryngia's comment made me do some rethinking.
Thanks for the honest.
Your kids rock! (I am out of the skate lingo these days. "Rock" will have to do.)
Writer Mom said...
Honesty. Thanks for the HONESTY.
Reia said...
hi! i just wanted you to know that YOU have been like a sister to me after all i've been through. thanks for the support! you are really an amazing person!!!! :-) hugs!
Astryngia said...
PS And SHE had YOU!!!! What a difference that must have made to her experience : to have her big strong sister taking the flak, diverting it and keeping the world sane/safe for her - mentally, physically, emotionally.

All YOU had was the struggle, the responsibility (too soon) - and someone older than you ready to drop you in it. Dear God.

Congratulations on the journey you've made to where you are now in your own life. And thank you for making the world a saner, safer place for the rest of us, too - cos that's YOUR script, forever being re-played, Groundhog Day-style.

It's not a bad script for the rest of us (thank you!) but there are an awful lot of us in the world! Just don't wear yourself out. ;-)

You've unbunged a very painful time in your life - good luck with the working through.
Karen said...
I think you are a truly amazing woman *Hugs*
Jo said...
Well done Doris. Big, powerful, empowered Doris :-)

Take care of yourself hon.You've travelled a long way in a short space of time, take one thing at a time. Allow yourself the chance to feel what you feel...and only take responsibility for what you are feeling, not the way your sister or mother is reacting, or will react.

God I wish i had your strength on this 'mother' thing (mine too hated her brother/sister all their contact with relations etc etc...but I don't have the guts to tackle it, though I have had the chance.)
Ghone said...
You did better than me - I had to put the phone down on one of my sisters last week, was just so upset that I could even bare to talk to her...

Why can't you pick your family???
It's so unfair!
Helen said...
You are a blessing to those around you Doris!
('ve been tagged)
jane said...
I'd have to say what happened between your sister & yourself are the different places you both took in a dysfunctional family. Sure sounds like you were the one mom took things out on. Sister somewhat excuses mom's behavior.
Anyways, you are such a big person to have been around your mom & been so loving towards her.
You're absolutely right Doris. You have broken the cycle & you can rest knowing that oneday your children will make wonderful parents, just like you.

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