Saturday, May 31, 2014
Friendship. Tears and Tears
A lot has been going on in my life. I'm building another garden, this one approximately 600 square feet. Sorry, this picture is lousy, but you get the idea.
Gardening makes for introspection. I'm doing a lot of both these days, inspired by the Friendship Coach I meet with once a week. As I wrote last month, my Girlfriend Picker's broken. Not totally. I have made a true blue friend or two since my husband died. But I tend to pick the "it's all about me" women, and that leaves me without the emotional support when I need it. So last night, when I wasn't sleeping, I started thinking about why the words a fellow blogger used to forgive her abuser (her father) helped me so much. Here's what they are.
#1. I forgive you [the abuser]. Well, I couldn't tell if this helped, so I went on to the second.
#2. God, please forgive Mom. O.K. Now this I could tell helped. My heart just melted. A weight just lifted from my shoulders. I'm still saying this one, and my heart's still melting.
I commented in her blog about this helping, but I want to elaborate here.
I can point to the very incident when my Girlfriend Picker broke, when my feeling of safety with women tore apart. It was the summer of 1972. I was back home after my freshman college year. Unhappily, I had not made any friends that year, although before that, girlfriends had been part of my life. But I was afraid to make overtures towards complete strangers. I was painfully shy. Why? I got the bright idea that maybe my Mom's not ever hugging me or telling me she loved me were holding me back. Maybe she just didn't know I needed these demonstrations of her love.
1972. The three of us at the dinner table, Mom at one end, my father at the other. I don't remember if a sister was there.
me: "Mom, you've never hugged me or told me you love me. Why?"
She stiffens. - (well, I'll try asking more directly)
"Mom, I'd like to know if you love me."
She slowly puts down her fork. - (uh-oh).
"Mom, I'd like to hear you say, just once, that you love me."
The muscles around her eyes and mouth stiffen and she turns to me, mouth set in a straight line.
"Mom, is it really so hard to tell me? I'm just asking if you've ever loved me."
She says - nothing -.
"Please, I need to know. I need you to put your arms around me and tell me you love me. I've never been held or heard this from you" me, crying now
Her eyes lock on mine, chilling me.
"I'm begging you. Please tell me you love me! How can it be this hard?" my voice rising to a shriek, tears flowing
She's a freaking statue.
"It's such a simple thing to say!" now I'm down on my knees beside her, reaching my arms up to her to be held
She looks straight through me.
Dad breaks the silence, saying in a strained voice: "Don't ask your mother that."
Well, I can't remember ever feeling so hurt. I ran away. I came back, eventually, because I needed their money to complete my college education. Emotionally, though, I shut down, toward I guess both parents, though I forgave my Dad immediately. But my Mom always said I was an accident, and now I understood why she never added with a smile "but a happy accident".
Several days later she took me aside. She explained in all earnestness that she couldn't say she loved me because my father wouldn't let her. This was baloney. My Dad never stopped her from speaking her mind. Nobody did. She didn't say "I love you" then, or ever. In fact she said some pretty nasty things to me as time went on.
Sometimes I wish life came with an instruction manual. It would say, five terrible losses will inhabit your life, and you don't get to pick which ones and when. They will come at you before you're strong enough to deal with them. But God will be with you. He/She will always be with you. Now. Go enjoy what life has to offer.
Back out to the garden. Thanks for listening.