March 24, 2015, Prescott- I became further acquainted with two families today. One, whom I’ve known in cursory fashion, for nearly thirty-four years, is saying goodbye to their matriarch. The other, of whom I only know what is told me by one member, is comprised of about seven remnants, each living fiercely separate lives, until very recently.
A. was strong, opinionated, but deeply loving woman, who guided her children, without being overbearing. She prized her independence, in that way resembling my own mother. Only gradually did she give in to the inevitable and let one of her children take her in, for the rite of passage to a more equitable realm. The scent of this veritable chain of roses will waft gently into that good night, though A. did her share of raging, during the dying of the light. Now she knows there is a much brighter light, lying beyond.
The Y’s, (not their real first initial), were raised by an overbearing woman, angry at having been dumped by her restless, knockabout of a husband and left with the three kids. The lives of all assumed a rootlessness that scarred each and every person in the family unit, in two cases fatally. That husband and father, never knowing the meaning of either word, has been in and out of his children’s lives ever since, thus far to no good end. He is reaching the end of his days, and may yet reconcile with his two remaining sons. The process of such a mending, though, will be lengthy and most likely incomplete. The tale told me this evening, by one of those sons, is a story straight out of Edward Albee, or Tennessee Williams, a chain of thorns, whose roses have long since wilted and fallen to the ground.
I was one of the lucky ones. My parents were devoted to each of the five of us, in the right measure, according to what they could see of our needs. Mother is still with us, and still of acute mind. My only wish for her is to remain so, for as long as she can maintain her own chain of roses. Our family has a bond that will endure, whether across the miles or across the street. It’s what we do.