Thursday, November 10, 2016

Opening a Deep Wound

I'm going back thirty years to an emotional pain that still hurts today. But, first I have to tell you about my mom.

She was an only-child. Her parents divorced in a period of time when divorce was not acceptable. Her father remarried and had a family. He sent her a comb and mirror set every Christmas, but she didn’t see him much. He died at the age of 38.

Her mother moved from Cedar City, Utah to Salt Lake City. When she found out that my mom was being abused, she sent her back to Cedar City to live with her grandmother until she was old enough to take care of herself. My mom moved back to Salt Lake to live with her mom and start the school year.

That very Christmas Eve, her mother was hit by a car and severely injured. Her skull was cracked all the way around her head, and her brother moved his family to Salt Lake to take care of her. She lived for two agonizing years and died at the age of 38. Meanwhile, my mom was shipped back to Cedar City to live with her grandmother. That only lasted a couple of years because her grandmother died when my mom was 16. She was sent to Redmond, Utah to live with her aunt and uncle, but her uncle was so abusive she couldn’t stand to stay with them.

Now you know a little about my wonderful mother. Family was extremely important to her. My parents had five children. I am the youngest. They both had health issues and died in their early sixties. They knew how precious family and time were.

So thirty years ago, we had three birthdays in a row; two of them being my oldest sister’s family and one being my unmarried brother’s. Everyone was busy with life, but my mom wanted to have a birthday dinner for the three of them. She planned; she cleaned; she shopped; she cooked. All she expected was for us to show up.

My oldest sister and her family didn’t come. My oldest brother and his wife didn’t come. The meal was ready. My mom finally called my brother. He wasn’t home. She called my sister. They were busy, but they were coming. My mom anxiously waited. She turned down the heat on the food. An hour passed. She called again. “We’ll be there.” Still nothing from my oldest brother. Another hour passed.

Finally, my oldest brother and his wife came. They had been at my sister’s house. He told my mom they were busy, so we should eat without them. My mom hesitated. Something seemed odd to her. Two of the birthdays we were celebrating were my sister's family. Mom continued to wait. My oldest brother continued to prompt her to go ahead without them.

Mom eventually gave in, and we sat down to eat. When my sister and her family arrived, she was uncontrollably angry. She came without gifts. She came without her part of the meal. She came without appreciation. She accused my parents of not caring about her; that she was always the outcast.

I have no idea what exact words were exchanged between my mom and my sister out on the front lawn, but I do know that my mom told her she had had enough. She told her it was my sister’s responsibility to have a relationship with her brothers and sisters.

While they were arguing, my brother and his wife left…never to be seen again. My sister’s family left in anger and tears…never to be seen again.

My parents were crushed. They tried to call. They tried to find out what really happened that day. My brother and sister would not say. They would'nt try to work it out. They wouldn’t give my parents the slightest chance of reconciliation after all my parents had done, sacrificed, given-freely, helped and loved them. They walked away. 

Until the day each of my parents died, this ate at them. They stewed about it, hashed it over, and ached inside, especially my mother. They couldn’t make sense of it. Family had been so important to to them. They had given so much. My sister was killed before a reconciliation could happen. My parents had hoped for that. They died with a deep ache in their hearts, not knowing what went wrong.

It pains me. Their pain still pains me. I’m sure now in heaven they know the reason our family had to endure this heartache, and I’m comforted by that. They never deserved the pain.

I guess why I am sharing this with you is because of all of the contention in the country over the election and the anger, division, disrespect and cruelty that some people are expressing. That they are carrying it so far as to "unfriend" family and friends. It is extremely troubling to my soul. Must we continue to hurt one another? What do we gain?

I look at old family photos with the happiness I had as a child and the pain I saw in my parent’s eyes thirty years ago. It hurts.

Hug your loved ones. Love; listen; forgive; reconcile; for life is fleeting.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
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Copyright: photodeti / 123RF Stock Photo

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