What Can You Say?

I wrote a short bio for my mother. FINALLY. It’s been so hard to figure out what to say about her, but after spending a week or more writing bios for family members I never met, I finally found some words. I won’t say it’s finished, but it’s there now.

I remember my mother’s funeral, every one there kept pushing this memory book at me asking me to write something about my mother. I didn’t now then what to say. I suppose many of them wanted to know the story of what went wrong between us – looking for good gossip? Or maybe they wanted me to pretend like she was the perfect mother and she never hurt me? I don’t know. I think I finally wrote something lame like the “have a nice summer” you sign in people’s yearbooks. Not what she deserved. But I didn’t know then what she did deserve, or even what I should say if I wanted to pretend that all was well.

I have discovered that it’s easier to sum up the lives of people you have no particular feelings toward. Good or bad, it shades your thoughts and your words and it colors the things you write. I’ve felt that toward the words that did get written in that little book – the eulogies and the obituaries that seemed to capture only one small part of who my mother was. While our relationship was strained, I would still like to round out the story of her life in some way that remembers the other parts too.

One thing about my mother, she seemed fractured to me, even at a young age she seemed to have almost a split personality at times. Like there was a real person inside, but there were all these rules and expectations that weighed her down and kept her trapped. I thought she was unhappy with her life. And I think it’s feeling trapped that kept her from being happy.

In the end, my one wish for her passing was that whatever happens next, heaven or reincarnation, that she would end up in a place that she could be loved unconditionally so that she would not be trapped anymore, having to pretend to be perfect all the time.

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