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Friday, July 16, 2010

Open Heart

My mother is having open-heart surgery today. I wonder what is in her heart. What will the doctors find when they hold her heart in their hands? Will they be able to tell who this person is, and what she feels?

She, my mother, was never someone I could confide in. She and I had a terrible relationship. For as long as I could remember, my mother made me angry. She was weak. She loved a man who did not care about her or her children; his children. Her entire life was a series of missteps and heartaches because my father was the person he was. She never understood how little he cared, and she spent her life bumping up against one disaster after the other, like a human pinball.

Is her heart sad? My father died last year. At first, my mother said she did not want to live without him. I remember my exact words to her: “you have other people to live for, if you don’t care about them, then I guess you can die.” This was the way I viewed my mother. There was never a time when she placed her children’s needs over my father’s. At least not a time that I knew of. Perhaps she was this gallant figure whom she hid from us. Perhaps she sacrificed for her kids so that our life was not worse than it was. I doubt this very much. My mother has the personality of a victim, and victims want you to know when they hurt, if they sacrifice, and that someone is always holding them down. So I do not think there was any behind the scenes gallantry.

After a time, my mother began to 'lighten up' about my father’s death. She seemed to be thriving lately. She seemed to be enjoying the freedom that she never had before my father died. Now she is having her heart opened up and re-arranged. The woman cannot catch a break. I hope she doesn’t die today. I hope she lives so that she can make herself happy for a few more years. I hope she lives so that she can experience the things she never did with my father. I wonder if she has regrets. I have no clue, because she and I don’t talk about important things. My mother and I only speak of the banal. We have no connection that gives us comfort or joy. If she lives today, I hope my mother finds her joy in life. I hope that she can smile a real smile. I hope she lives.

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