Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Past

These thoughts woke me up during the night. I answered a couple of questions my son  asked about my youth and I suppose the discussion embedded in my head, hence the thoughts.
My mother chose multiple marriages and the man of the hour over her children many times. My father never engaged with my brother and I, and when we were being shipped off yet again  because possible husband material didn't want children, my father wasn't interested in us. Grandparents? I know my Italian grandfather was very kind to my brother and I but we couldn't understand him when he spoke to us. My maternal grandmother- I don't even think she noticed us. My paternal grandmother was deep into her Alzheimer's when we met her and she had no idea who we were. We were all told the paternal grandfather had been dead for years. (That turned out to be false but by the time everyone, including his own children found out he'd been alive all along, it was too late.)
So, it was my brother Martin and I. We were like 2 young sailors, holding onto a chunk of driftwood in a sea of neglect.
He made me laugh, he made me continue to care enough to stay alert and alive, knowing the hell in which we  lived would eventually end, and we would be able to take the reins of our own destinies at some point  if we could just get through the Here-and-Now.
And we did reach adulthood, and that particular Hell did end for us.
Martin chose his life, I chose mine.
Mistakes were made. I turned down some wrong paths, but didn't go too far down a bad alley since I had honed that instinct for self-preservation for years.
Little did I know, my darling brother put his salvation into the hands of others, instead of relying first and foremost on himself for strength.
And when he was let down, he ended his life. His most precious gift, he threw away.
I still have moments of despair, times when I wonder if I can continue to forge ahead each day. But those moments are few and far between now.
I have a dear husband, and pretty darn great kids. None of us are perfect, but we are decent enough folks I guess.
I think I want to say this:
This is it. This is the hand we were dealt. It may not be the best hand, but it's what you're holding.
If you don't like it, take steps to fix or change it. You have more cards to choose from, you know.
Don't be at the end of your life, wondering why you didn't make other choices. Don't let your destiny be in someone else's hands. You have more power than you think you do.

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