Thursday, August 31, 2006

Legacies of Childhood

In a recent post I wrote something about not wanting the things that happened to me in childhood to define me, but that I also know they define a part of me.

Today I spent time with this warm loving woman, she is the most spiritual, religious woman I know, in fact from 1 to 2 am this morning she will be in church, doing whatever it is that catholics do on those first Fridays of the month (can you tell I am protestant? She told me what it was called, but can't remember), she gives her clients her all, she gives the people in the small town she lives in her all, more than her all, when she is done with her work day, she spends the rest of the evening doing things for the ones in her community that cannot do for themselves. Every evening of the week, month, year, she does for others.

But I found out today, she has never had anyone do for her....give to one...she is the youngest of nine children...she broke down in tears today....she has had the roughest year....she has lost at least 4 dearly loved clients in recent months, she lost a wonderful job that she loved. She lost her "baby", a cat that was 16 years old that she raised from an orphan with his sister, who is also very ill.

She broke today, not sure what brought it out this evening, but I was sitting at my desk, desperately reworking the same schedules for the millionth time...major budget cuts going on...and she was filling out her weekly paperwork....when the damn broke....she just was all too much today, the point where she couldn't do it....we were speaking of family....and she suddenly said....

"All of my life, all of my life I have been put down, I have never been good enough."

"What, why, who says this to you?"

"My family, my brothers and sisters, they have beaten it into me since I was young, they told me for years, that if anything ever happened to Mom or Dad, it would be my fault. When my Dad died, I thought it WAS my fault! I didn't know how or what I had done, but I just knew they were right!"

At this point she was unable to really talk anymore, she cried and cried, then we dried her eyes, and she caught her breath. I told her they were wrong, I pointed out who she is, what she does, how she lives her life...tried to remind her to let her God lead her, love her, the way she so desperately needs. Did I do any good saying all that....nope don't think so...but I did do good in one respect.....I listened...I looked at who she really is and I listened. Sometimes that is all we need.

And then I thought, all of these years, all of these years, she has spent all of these years trying to be good enough.....and if it wouldn't have offended her...I would have said, "FUCK THAT, FUCK THEM, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN!"
I didn't, but I think she may have sensed it just a wee bit.

The thing that really got me though has been so very many years she has been living with these lies, these put downs..............she is 62 years old.


The legacies of childhood.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Sigh. The identities and blames we wear as part of us, all our lives, that we don't and have never deserved.

Sunny don't ever say: "Did I do any good saying all that....nope don't think so"


"You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

You gave, Sunny, you gave.