A Call From My Mother

by Bill Brenner on August 25, 2011

It’s Wednesday morning. I’m working from home, face behind the computer. My kids and two neighborhood kids are tearing though the house, overturning everything in sight. Then the phone rings.

Mood music:

“It’s been five years,” the voice on the other end says. “Can’t we fix this?”

It’s my mother. I saw her at my cousin’s wedding two weeks ago but we largely avoided contact. We’re six years into an estrangement that I think is the result of shared mental illness.

Can we fix this?

I really don’t know.

I want to. I’ve never been happy about what happened, though I felt and still feel that the split was necessary.

Some folks think this stuff is simple. Life’s too short not to get along, they say. But life is far more complex than that. Relationships with a history of abuse? That’s one of the most complex and confusing beasts of all.

I’ve had a lot of love and blessings in my life in the last few years. I’ve come far in overcoming addictions and mental illness. Even the family discord has served a purpose. Somewhere along the way, I’ve found myself.

It would be nice if I could mend some more relationships. But I have to be careful.

At the wedding, my Uncle Bobby, the last of the siblings that included my grandmother, took me aside at one point and said life is too short to hate.

He is absolutely right.

But hate has nothing to do with it.

Mistrust, hurt feelings and deep disagreements over right and wrong? Absolutely. But not hate.

If it were about hate, all this would be cut, dry and easy.

I’ll have to do some hard thinking over this one.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven Hemeon August 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

Bill my mom and I were in the same situation for 9 years, I didn’t start talking to her again till my grandmother passed and it was at her wake. I regret being seperated as I was not able to say goodbye to my grandmother which haunts me to this day and will till I die. But it takes more strength and energy to hold a grudge than not. Good luck

Mary August 30, 2011 at 11:44 am

Great post about what goes on in the world, thanks for sharing a part of yourself.
PS I have no suggestions, I can support you.

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