Tag Archives: memoir

Love/Life

Everything you can imagine is real.
–Pablo Picasso

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I wish I could believe that. Then, I would look for love. Long ago, when I was young, I believed I’d find love. It would be embodied in a man who possessed the qualities of a prince. Love would be a man who would hold me and give me freedom. A man who could talk about the world, the universe. A kind man with an innate sense of justice.  Together, we’d build a life together.

I spent years searching until I decided loneliness was worse than not having love.  So, many more years, I lived with a man who worked to provide a secure foundation, a home to give shelter and money to buy whatever we needed. I accepted his shortcomings, his failures. But, his inability to see me for anything other that a minority shareholder in the life we built hurt. We wrangled over it. Somehow, he never understood what I was saying no matter how many times and in so many different ways I tried to explain that his attitude was a source of pain for me.

I’ve become adept at making my life work for me. Doesn’t everyone settle for something in life?

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Reminiscence

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Where  does the time between memories go? Is it compressed and re-compressed to a quark sized particle in the brain? Is that why I have vivid memories of two mornings in a cold, mid-January over 16 years ago more clearly than any morning last week.

I was getting ready to go to a Memorial Service for a man who had been my husband’s co-worker. Late and rushing to get breakfast for Catherine, my 8 year-old daughter, I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. Of course, the phone would ring now! I swallowed my exasperation. But, it was my sister’s voice I heard and it sounded weak and raspy.  She had been fighting a winter cold and the first round of antibiotics didn’t help. I was worried about her.

“Mare, Dr. Chen called. He wants me to go for a chest x-ray tomorrow” I heard fear in her voice.

“Tee, He’s covering all bases. Catherine has had two rounds of antibiotics a few times to get rid of sinus infections.  Don’t worry too much.” I wanted to add “yet”. My sister was a heavy smoker.

“I’ll come with you.” I said. I could hear the relief in her voice as we made arrangements.

The next morning I picked her up and we drove silently to the hospital’s x-ray facility.  She was called right away. I watched her walk slowly until the door shut behind her.

I couldn’t read the newspaper I brought or any of the magazine’s in the waiting room.  I just stared out the window. About a half hour later and much to my surprise, Dr. Chen came into the waiting room and headed straight toward me.

“I am so sorry to tell you this. Your sister has a tumor in her lung very close to her heart. I don’t think it’s operable but I advise you to go to a Thoracic Surgeon, a good one and as soon as possible.. It is going to be a very difficult time” he said.

I could hardly process his words. I was holding out hope, praying. I searched his face but I didn’t see a any hope in his eyes.

“Okay, thank you for your advice.” I said as he turned and walked away.

He left me to tell my sister.

Call It Courage

imageDecember Sunrise.

When I was nineteen, I had a boyfriend my mother disliked.  We fought constantly about him.  She made it clear that he was not welcome in our home after he took issue with her about something and, honestly, I can’t remember what it was–something inconsequential. I was embarassed and chose to blame her for rude behavior forgetting that he was just as rude if not more so. No matter how I tried to convince her to accept him, she just would not.  I decided I could no longer live in the atmosphere my mother created. She was smothering me.

So without much money and only a suitcase of clothes, I left home.  I went to the only place I knew of–a hotel near the Staten Island Ferry.  It was a horrible place that usually charged by the hour and the man at the reception desk told me I didn’t belong there.  But, I didn’t know where else to go. The next day I found a house with a room for rent.  I took it.  I found a job and eventually got my own apartment.

That first step out on my own was so difficult and I missed my family terribly.  I know now that I left for the wrong reason and without either the mental or monetary preparation that would have made my first move toward independence a much more positive experience.

Yes, it took courage to leave home and a good deal of stubborness. And, after a while, I realized that my “boyfriend” never provided any emotional support during those first very tough months. I wanted to see him as accepting and supportive but he was extremely judgemental and rigid.  In the end, I was able to repair my relationship with my mother. It was my “boyfriend” who I no longer wanted to be part of my life.