The weather has been erratic this Spring, swinging between unexpected freezes and glorious, still days of warmth. That pattern continued the life cycle of 2012. We seem to have moved from one sort of crisis to another this year. Occasionally, there has been joy as with the recent marriage of our daughter.
This afternoon, after a hectic few months, I eased away my tensions in the spa. The late afternoon was a mild eighteen degrees Celsius. The spa water was heated to a comfortable twenty-five degrees. A gentle steam hovered above the water.
From the comfort of the spa, I watched the day’s light fade into a golden sunset that was reflected in the dam at the southern end of our property. To the north, the double line of conifers that bordered our land silhouetted against the slowly darkening golden sky. The spa water laved against me as I floated, drifting not just in body but also in thought.
In the distance, I could see my husband working off a recent grief in our lavender garden. We’ve had heavy rainfall this year and some of the plants have become waterlogged. For those of you who don’t know much about lavender, the plants prefer dry conditions. From a distance, it looked like some of the lavender had very deep roots and were refusing to budge. It struck me they were very much like grief.
My husband’s mother passed away on the 5th September. It’s been a difficult time for him and for us. Between her passing and the day he delivered his eulogy, he searched for words to help him come to an understanding of her and the relationship she had with her surviving children.
How can any child gain the true measure of a mother?
As children, we think our parents infallible, able to keep our world in balance and on its true path within our universe. In the teen years, our rebellion takes that world off course. The realization that our parents are human sends shockwaves through our world, rocking it for a time. Later as we mature into adults, we come to appreciate that we are flawed ourselves. We better understand that ‘people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’. It’s that realization that leads to many of us reforging closer bonds with our parents.
When I matured into an adult, I came to understand that when it comes to parenting what matters is the intention underlying the action. Knowing that my parents were well-intentioned enabled me to forgive them for their mistakes and love them all the more for trying so hard.
And so it was with my husband.
before him were never truly lost.
He learnt an important lesson from his mother’s reaction to the tragedy in her life. That lesson is: Don’t hold others at a distance for fear you will suffer unbearable hurt. By not allowing yourself to feel and to show love, you hurt yourself and others more.
We have a family gallery in the eastern wing of our house. The photos trigger memories. At times, past and present converge in that hallway.
‘Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.’ The Wonder Years (US TV show)
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