after reading the previous post i wouldn’t blame you for thinking i was wallowing in a pool of self-pity <oink oink> and in part, you would be correct. (big assumption on my part: that you read the previous post, but i can have my fantasies.) remembering the past, digging into your memory, is often a torturous journey for yourself and of no interest to those who you may have drug along for the ride.
what happened: i was reading an advice column in the l.a. times this morning, ask debbie or some such thing (c’mon, i know you do too…) and you know how most of the time you wonder how people manage their lives on their own; aunt frieda smells, uncle buck is just out of prison, my kids won’t do their homework; enabler, dissembler, and many other words ending in ‘bler’, it’s more entertaining than enlightening. until this morning.
a mother wrote in to “debbie” (debbie, yeah, right…you know i met ann landers once, aka eppie lederer, but another time…) complaining that she doesn’t feel like her children love her; they’re in their twenties and have new families and young children, working, and she complained that she never hears from them and that she has to initiate contact more often than they do. she did concede that it’s not that she feels unloved by them, but that she’s not having the relationship with them that she had expected.
debbie, kindly i felt, said, “i also remember a time when i was younger, living a world away and emotionally engaged elsewhere–and i regret that it wasn’t until i was entering middle-age when i felt my attachment to my family…intensify and deepen, and i started to give back. fortunately my mother was there when i (emotionally) returned.”
so there you have it. it’s not the past that i regret, it is the future that never happened that is the greater loss. of course, i have no way of knowing what it might have been; would my mother and i have grown closer? would my friends and i have continued to share the same values? but i can say that i wish i’d had the opportunity to find out for myself. it’s not been easy since the ’80s when these losses occurred, just when i was gaining ground on some kind of maturity, all that support and love was lost. i did fall in love with a wonderful man and he’s been a constant source of joy, love, and support.
but it’s the web of family and friends, so gossamer-fine to begin with, that’s been shredded, wiped away in broad strokes, irritably and aggravating, as if i had walked through it; creepily following me as i try to wipe it from my face, that i can’t let go of. the what if. the had we only had more time. the god it’s so good to hear from you, how have you been? the i love you. the me, too.