This won’t be clean or easy. Tonight wasn’t easy for me, so please bear the expected spelling and grammatical errors that I’m sure are forthcoming.
My parents are going through their 349,467 separation, and a discussion evolved tonight between my mother and me that I was not expecting. It started with going through my feelings and my brother’s feelings, the family history, and many other things. A few things did surprise me though.
I was finally able to explain to her the way I saw my father. I was able to explain the way my brother saw my father. Most importantly, it was expressed that our views back then were just as true and relevant as they are today. I am not in my advanced psychology classes yet, but I will try to explain this the best I can.
My father was never destined to be a dad. Some men just aren’t “dad” material. He was one of them. So was my first husband. I married a man with two children who could honestly live his life with or without them. So the cliché rings true: you end up marrying someone like your father (for me anyway). My dad would occasionally say, “I love you,” but that was few and far between. There was no affection; there was no concern. He was all about discipline, structure, and why we didn’t do better. We were his children. We had to excel.
My stubbornness played a large role. I was as intelligent as my father (and I like to think that I still am), but I had the heart and will of my mother. I am stubborn to a fault (and still am), and will never stop fighting for what I know is right or for what I believe. This can be a good or bad thing, as many of us know, but to me it means I have passion. If I am called or labeled stubborn for it, so be it. I can accept that.
I am also incredibly anti-social at times. My mother recanted the story of being in the hospital with me at four months old. It was at Christmas. I had an ear infection, just finished a round of bad colic, and seemed to have picked up an infection that was going around. She told me how I reacted whenever anyone would touch me. I would scream. I would kick. I pulled the IVs out of my foot repeatedly. She made them prick my finger to draw my blood, as it became the only way possible. Only when she touched me or held me was I ever at peace. In her arms was the only way I could sleep. To this day, I have always felt this bond with my mother and still do.
I learned about my sister quite a while back. What I did not know was that she was a girl. My extended family had made slight references to my mother’s first pregnancy, but I always assumed they meant my brother. Tonight I asked her, for the first time, if she knew the sex. She did.
My mother was pregnant before meeting my father. As routine procedure in the 1970’s, her family sent her away to a convent to give birth and give the baby up for adoption. My mother miscarried at five months. She told me it was a girl. Tears welled up in my eyes as I learned this. I had an older sister, who lived for only five months – but she existed. I have never known this before today. While I still tout the lines between atheism and my Roman Catholic upbringing, I cannot deny that I believe a God and a heaven exists. This news brought me to tears as I asked my mother what my sister’s name was to be. She could not remember, but promised to search her memory for the names she had in mind.
I feel like I am mourning a death I never knew happened. I had an older sister, and I never knew it until today. Five months old or fifty years old, she is in my heart and I will not rest until I know her name.