Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ack, Reading Mom's Diary and Wanting More!

Is that a hair ball, or am I really sick? Oh no. I think I'm sick. I'd rather it be a hair ball. But I'm not so lucky. I've been sneezing on an off all day today. Yuck. I think I'm getting a cold. You know, one of those yucky, put you in bed, summer colds.'s what my post is really about.

My sister found my mom's diary a couple weeks back. She read it and told me I should read it. She said I would enjoy the read. She was right. It wasn't anything heavy. My mom wrote it during her senior year in high school. It was light reading. She mostly wrote about who she spent her day with, whether or not she went to school that day (there were a few days she played hooky) if she and my dad went out that day and on every page she wrote "I love Bob." She would also write whether or not she and Bob (my dad by the way) "scrunged" that day. I think that meant whether or not they made out. Numerous entries were quite funny. I laughed a lot.

I wish she had thought to share it with us while she was alive. What a nice time we could have reading her diary together and then talking about her high school years and dating my dad. I would have enjoyed that immensely. After having read her diary I have a ton of questions that I wish I could have asked her. And since my dad's gone too (he died 20 years ago this year) I can't ask him. So, I'll never know.

We told our brothers about having found it. My older brother is very interested in reading it. My younger brother's reaction sort of surprised me. He doesn't think he wants to read it because he feels he's invading her privacy. That made me pause, for just a brief moment. I then realized that I don't feel the same way. I think we learn a lot about people by reading their diaries...its just too bad most aren't read until after the person has passed away-cuz then we can't ask questions or ask the author to elaborate on what she's written. I told him as much and my sister and I left our mom's diary with him for him to decide whether or not he wishes to read it.

Now, my sister and I are going through my mom's photo albums. I've done that more than a million times, but now that my mom's gone, going through the pictures has a different feel. I'm looking at them differently. I want to ask a ton of questions, but there's no one to ask. I want to know who everyone is in the pictures and what they meant to my mom. And what they meant to my dad.

---A week after my mom died I received a phone call from an old friend of my mom's. I knew her way back but hadn't known that she and my mom had kept in touch all these years. She moved out of state many years ago, but whenever she returned, she would call my mom and take her out to lunch. I did not know this. Anyway, she called me and told me she would like to take me out to lunch. She and her 1st husband and children were good friends with my parents and my older brother and myself. Her husband died during the Viet Nam war. Her son and my brother were good friends and her daughter and I were good friends. Her son died when he was 16 in a car accident. I have not seen her daughter in many years. When she called and asked me to lunch I jumped at the invitation. How I long to learn more about my mom.

My feelings and thoughts about my mom are influenced by my growing up years which were fraught with dysfunction, illness and anger. Now that my mom is gone, I realize that there was more to my mother then my colored memories of her. I want to know her as a person, separate from me, separate from her being my mother. I want to know what she was like as a friend, a daughter, a sister and especially a woman. So, I'm on a mission to talk with anyyone I can find who knew my mother.

I'm truly sorry that I was not able to reach this place of understanding, curiosity and loving prior to her death however, that is the way it usually works.


Rosie said...

My Mom died two and a half years ago. Aug 9th was her 74th birthday. Last year I went to my Dad's house and read the 9 love letters she saved for us from the many they exchanged during their separations. My Dad was a fighter pilot in the AF and was gone alot while we were growing up.

I'm the oldest and I have the most memories, however, just like you I find I have many questions still. Right now no one else seems to interested in the love letters which are beyond 'G' rated.

The thing is my father is still here, but because he is an alcoholic he either refuses to discuss the past or can't remember it. What has saved my relationship with him since Mom died are those letters.

I finally got to see him as a young man courting a woman who he absolutely adored. I could finally understand why my Mom married him.

So while I have many questions, I'm so grateful for that glimpse into their past and the opportunity to see them as just regular people.

Smart Socratics said...

Thanks for your comments. I think we are lucky when we get to know our parents as people who are/were more than just mom and dad. I look forward to learning all that I can about the two people who gave me life but had lives of their own.

Pete said...

If one of my parents had a diary, I don't think I could bring myself to read it. I would be too afraid of finding out something I really didn't need (or want) to know! But that's just me. :)

Neil said...

I think men have a slightly different relationship to their mother, and it may feel wrong to look at her diary, so I understand where your brother is coming from. But it is also a great way to feel here "alive" again by reading her words.