Behind the Scene

January 28th, 2009


I don’t know when this was taken of my grandfather, my father and one of my brothers. The ’50s, judging by the car and natty suit my father is wearing. Our family portrait shattered soon after like a mirror that couldn’t hold any more lies. Years passed when I didn’t speak to my father or see him. Years when we ignored each other’s existence, because he was never father material and my mother was bitter about that for as long as she lived. A bitterness she passed on as part of our inheritance. She hated him and obsessed about him, and our loyalty to her demanded no less of us. So many years passed without him in my life that eventually I stopped missing him, lamenting only the loss of  an idea of a father. And then my mother died and my father’s second wife died and he became a born-again parent. Eventually it became too much trouble to go on carrying the torch of my mother’s anger, to be pissed off about missing something that was just a shadow memory. My father was just a lonely old guy who happened to share my DNA, and it cost me so little to be kind. So why do I still feel like I’m betraying my mother whenever I call him “Dad,” or send him a card or check in to see how he’s doing? It has caused a schism in our little leftover family, with the brother in the photo refusing to speak to anyone who has dealings with our father. This small personal dilemma makes me realize how easy it is for nations, races and religions to hand on a legacy of hatred from one generation to the next.  If my brothers and I can’t make peace, can’t separate our love for our mother from the tragedy that was her marriage, can’t lay down our arms, how much harder is it for countries to let go of ancient feuds and resentments?

5 Responses to “Behind the Scene”

  1. notmassproduced says:

    yes sister – u’ve hit the nail right in the middle

  2. Lorraine says:

    People find it easier to work for “PEACE” with other nations rather than in their own families for some reason…I have family members who won’t speak to each other but want to go to other countries to “help them”. Go figure.

  3. nativekee says:

    thanks for sharing this personal piece… such a metaphor for us all…
    what fragile things our souls can be!!

  4. V-Grrrl says:

    Yes, we learn the biggest lessons about peace making, peace keeping, and tolerance in our own families.

    I tell my kids this all the time…

  5. Kathleen Botsford says:

    Powerful refection. I wish you strength and courage.