I had a very bad day yesterday. I think my husband thinks it is the blogging on Sounds of Hope. I am really dredging up the past. It isn’t that. Oh, I am not going to say it doesn’t affect me at all. Thinking and writing about the young me, abused and mistreated. Sure, that would make anyone stop and think for a few minutes.
On the other hand, writing about those days so long ago is good. In an odd and surprising way, it is making me feel more powerful. I am telling my own story, in my own words. It is truth. It is long past time that I told the truth about myself. I always allow other people’s feelings and opinions about me to define who I am. I should stop that. It is time to say NO, you are wrong about me. So many assumptions – even by those in my own family have crippled me from going forward. Deep inside, I am still that insecure person I am writing about on that blog.
Friday I got a copy of my mother’s Last Will & Testament from the court in Missouri. I remember the day she went to sign her Will. For some reason or other, I went with her downtown but didn’t go into the attorney’s office. I hesitantly ask her what she had put in her Will. At the time, she had some assets. A mobile home and a car, perhaps she still owned the duplexes in Hallsville. I no doubt had Rukhsanah on my hip or in my arms, and Sofia holding my hand. I never went anywhere without my children.
She said that she had made me Executrix of the estate and that she left everything to me. Friday, I saw exactly what she said. There is something strange about seeing your parent’s words on paper after they are gone. They seem to take on new power. I would love to see my Father’s Bible, where he wrote about his life. My brother has it and I will never see it. I have my mother’s Bible. He’ll never see that.
I had that same strange feeling when I found my father’s baptismal record from the Paulus Parish in Oslo Norway. Dated at the dawn of the 20th Century, it showed his parents names and his sister as one of his sponsors. I also found his confirmation record and wondered what my dad was like then. He was living in Norway, the youngest of seven children of a stonemason and homemaker.
I watched Spike Lee on the TV series Who Do You Think You Are? He lamented all the times he could have asked his grandmother questions about her past and didn’t. I had lots of time to hear my mother’s stories. Almost no time to hear my dad’s. I was a child when he died. I was 19 years old, pregnant with my second child. I didn’t know how to grieve or even if I should. I just knew that my greatest champion in this life was gone.
Yesterday, I sent letters to my two brothers. The ones who refused to attend to their mother’s death, her final affairs or her funeral. However, when it came to the meager insurance money that the Will stipulates was to go to her final arrangements, they greedily assumed they were to share. In light of such immorality, I doubt the letters and proof will mean anything. Once again, I am defending my mother’s wishes. Ultimately, a judge will have to decide.
The Will, the letters, the thoughts of my dad, then yesterday I scanned through some pictures of my mother. I am putting together a little memorial book for myself, that one day may be valued by my children. I have included the blogs I wrote as she transitioned from this life to the arms of her Savior. As I looked at those pictures, particularly this one
sadness and grief flooded my soul. Her birthday is tomorrow. I wish I had gotten in the car and gone to Columbia to lay flowers on her grave this weekend.
When my father died, a picture sparked a deeper feeling of grief. My mother sent me a picture of my dad, a simple passport picture. I broke into tears. Yesterday, I had that same feeling thinking about my mother. Pictures like this one brought too many memories back.
Like a caged animal, I was captive in this apartment yesterday. I needed to go out, feel the air, smell spring. Nevertheless, my husband was bound to his laptop. He is out all week, seeing people, feeling important, doing important things. I sit in this cage day after day after day. No attempt to find life and vitality here in South Dakota has worked. I sit in the same corner of the couch, laptop on my lap, reaching out to a cyber world for friendship. I hate this apartment. Hard as I try, I still hate living in South Dakota. I can’t go back to Tennessee because love for my husband holds me here. I am so stuck.
Today, once again, I will cook wonderful food for my husband and make sure his laundry is done. I’ll straight the kitchen, sweep, touch up the bathrooms and change the sheets. My husband doesn’t demand such things, I just do them. I love him. It is how I show that love. I might even open a book for school. Lately I have been paralyzed with lethargy. Seminary course that have wasted my time and energy hold no interest for me.
We might go out. But what is there to do in this place? Go walk around a store after an hour's drive to Sioux Falls? Drive around the countryside that all looks the same in South Dakota. I don't know what will do but it will be good to get out. It won't be enough.
Yesterday was a bad day; today will likely be the same.