This I Believe

Eileen - Prescott, Arizona
Entered on June 18, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I am home now surrounded by my late mom’s presence, by her chairs, her photos, her blanket, the smell of her bedroom, the many photographs of her that my sibling put on this screen saver. I have been angry since my mother died because I thought she would live long enough for me to return home, help her out again, or at least return home to say goodbye and speak with her.

Instead of a last goodbye, I was able to be aside of her as she slept in what probably was a coma and was able to be aside of her when she took her last breath. I am grateful for that.

“What would you do in my shoes?” I wrote to my siblings about taking time off and heading home, cross the country, when Mom started to fail. Time and again throughout her illnesses of the last few years, she had been able to rally. I did not think she would die so quickly.

My siblings did not tell me what they would do in my shoes. I should have known to just go home, but thinking of how she could rally, I didn’t, and I am angry that no one answered my question. Even a “don’t know” would have helped. A thought that lessens the anger is that no one has the monopoly on truth, including myself. That is what I believe.

A truth pyramid’s base may be human nature springing to its indubitable take on things. And then deeper fixations pile themselves on top of the mere opinions–deep as the Grand Canyon and sometimes as dangerous.

If you add to those fixations, a tone of voice that accepts no questions, a voice, inner and outer, as sure-footed as a Grand Canyon mule, then the pyramid becomes even sturdier. No questioning lilt exists in the voices of much of my family: just a tonal and loud assurance (sometimes comforting) that the truth is being pronounced. When my mother first started wearing a patch for pain, I asked my siblings a question about a common side effect. They dismissed the question with such a tone. I felt that tone in their lack of response to my question about coming home.

I could hypothesize forever about why no response was given. I know the level of stress was high. Sometimes I feel certain that resentment played a role. I become angry and speculate.

And at times I stop because no one has the monopoly on truth, including myself. As contradictory and simplistic as it might seem, this take on things has become my mantra for now.