This I Believe

Mary - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on April 18, 2006
Age Group: 65+

Forced Independence

My mother died at 46 leaving a family of five children, (I was ten at the time).The devastation of abandonment and loneliness hit me, the only girl, particularly hard. Keep in mind that I am in my seventh decade of life, and yet the sadness that envelopes me when I think of growing up without her is profound. I have often speculated about what my life might have been had she not been taken away from me so early.

My dreams have wandered from life as a college professor to star of stage and screen, to first cello chair in the symphony, had she only lived to encourage me to reach for the heights.

My father and brothers were all kind, good men and helped as best they could through the traumas of growing up, but I missed the loving presence of a woman. My father’s sistrs also helped, but try as they may, their expectations of me were unrealistic and limiting. While I appreciated their help, it wasn’t the same.

Life has been good to me. I married early and became the mother of five children in twelve years. My children have grown to be loving parents and responsible citizens. I am truly blessed and love the fact that role reversal has begun, and they try gingerly to control my tendency to throw caution to the winds even as they support my independence. I love them dearly.

I believe in the tenacity of the human spirit given the freedom to express it. My mother’s death provided that freedom, painful as that was. Life choices presented hard lessons at times, but I had only myself to blame. I am fiercely independent, not always to my advantage, but in the long run my choices have led to the good life I enjoy today. Had my mother survived to know her wondeful granchildren, chances are my life would have been very different. While I understand that, I wish I had had the opportunity to find out.