When Mom told the story to me, or to me and one or both of my sisters – she tended to tell her stories more than once – it was in context of her explaining why my father was at arm’s length when I was born two years later: he was afraid I might die too.
But I don’t ever recall her mentioning how SHE felt about what I imagine must have been an incredibly emotional incident.
Now that I think on it, she did that a lot, explaining my father’s feelings about his growing up, or being in the military, or dealing with being wronged. Or describing her mother’s eccentricities.
She did note that she was a lousy cook because she was spoiled from being an only child living with at least four adults (mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle) when growing up. But there was never much about how she FELT about it.
In fact, the only time I can remember her talking about her feelings took place well after my maternal grandfather’s father (who even I called Father) passed circa 1960. He was a very strict, church-going pious man, who she admired greatly. When the family discovered booze and girlie magazines hidden away, she was devastated; the underpinning of her values were a bit shaken.
I wondered how she processed things. When I asked her about her theology back in the 1980s, she declared that she should be a good person; this was a bit loosey-goosey to me. She then proclaimed she followed the Ten Commandments. OK – so what does “Thou shalt not kill” mean in terms of the death penalty or self-defense? In several conversations, she never really described this.
My mother WAS a very good person, very outwardly focused, caring about others. Everyone thought she was a very sweet woman. Sometimes, though, I wished her had been a bit more selfish, figuring out what was important to HER. Being squeezed between the dominant personas of her mother and her husband may not have left enough room for her SELF.
This is my fifth Mother’s Day without my mom, and it still makes me surprisingly sad.