F is for Family and Friends

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind and serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised and today is short.” –Unknown

“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating  virtues of humans, are created, strengthened and maintained.” –Winston Churchill

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” –Alex Haley

I think of my family and friends a great deal. They are what either boost my morale or knock me back down to reality. They can break my heart or fill me with joy. Friends come and go, but family remains until death do us part. People often talk about dysfunctional families. When I was younger I thought my family was abnormal, but soon realized there is no such thing as normal.

Many years ago I interviewed my mother long before she began showing signs of dementia. I wanted to discover what made her tick, and in doing so, find out who I am. I learned through deductive reasoning why she became who she is, but I am still trying to see how it links to me. Her memories of her birth family are vivid even now when she is half mad, but she cannot recall events of my childhood. Was her inner life so unbearable then that she blocked it all out? Did having three small children drive her insane? Her mother died when I was three years old, and for many years to follow there were hints and murmurs among adults that she lost her mind with grief. Now, she calls me six or more times a day looking for her long dead mother and sister, crying for someone to come get her and take her home. She also reverts back to the time when my youngest daughter was small. My mother and mother-in-law took turns watching Morgan while I worked. Those were happy times for us all.

So it is only the happy times she recalls. I don’t blame her wanting to go back. If only we all could go back to happier times and relive them with relish. I want to be there for my mother, even though we are miles apart. I wish I could comfort her while she waits to return to the family she lost so long ago.

As for friends? Few stay. I rarely let go of a friendship, unless they let go first or die. My grandfather once said, “If you have one good friend in life you’re damned lucky.” I have a handful who have been around for many years. Will they be there in a flash when I’m in desperate need? It’s doubtful. Mainly because their families come first. I understand.

Instead of allowing my mother’s grief and my longing for friends to drive me insane with depression, all I can do is try to remember something I once heard: we are the memories we keep in our hearts.

As for you, dear reader, cherish your loved ones. Never waste an opportunity to let them know how much you care. Those moments will become the memories that sustain you.

“What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life–to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” –George Eliot

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” –Confucius

 

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

6 responses to “F is for Family and Friends

  1. I suppose, as your brother, we have different memories of the events of our lives and the intimate details that are shared. Certain stories as told to me are recounted differently by the parties involved. So instead of lingering on them, I just let them go. I was not there to dispute or refute any of the claims. I suppose the daughter of a WWII family has different fears than we have. Mom is fiercely independent and stubborn, yet her compassion for family never waned. She’d give her last dime, but also expect to have some control as well. She could never acknowledge her faults or the impact they had on others. Yet, despite it all, I recall a very simple and happy childhood. Now the teen and adult years, well, that’s a different and lengthy story that usually determines the level of family dysfunction.

  2. I recall a happy childhood, too, at home, but not at school. I’ve never doubted her love. It’s just now, with her dementia, she doesn’t talk much about us as children. She remembers her childhood vividly. As for our teen years, we were pretty typical for that time period–not saying it was pretty.

    • Dementia is the part of aging most family members are not ready for. It’s a horrible disease and when compounded by alcoholism it produces a living nightmare. It’s what we learn from these life experiences that should serve in our complete maturation as an adult. Do we follow the same path or correct ourselves to avoid what we will suffer from or our family will suffer from. I still believe my best years are ahead. I hope you find this for yourself as well. Letting go of the past is a difficult task.

      • Oh believe me, I am learning more than I wanted through this whole ordeal. Letting go is not only difficult, but also painful. Plus, some things don’t want to be let go; they cling to us like needy children. Now the hard part is just getting through the present situation while looking forward to better, brighter days. We all deserve a little peace and happiness. Always remember: I love you, big brother. 🙂

  3. Marla Cooper

    I wish I’d had more than one kid. Bless his heart, he’s the sole recipient of my motherly love, motherly FEAR, motherly ADVICE, motherly interference, though I’m not too bad with that. Be thankful for your siblings even though you didn’t get to choose them. I enjoyed your blog, Rebel.

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