Today I did not have a personal history story written for group. This is almost the first time in two years that I have not been prepared.
The women in the group let me talk after everyone else had read and I talked about the book. The book. The book where I am exorcising my ghosts. One ghost. The loss of my birth dad.
I am beginning to realize this book cannot be about my loss alone. My sisters lost too, especially Julie--who will be referred to as the troll occasionally in the book. Poor Julie to be portrayed in such a way--she hardly resembles a troll at all. Anyway, I have a hot tempered scene in my head between me and the troll, who, I will have to call something nicer because she put up with "the brat" all those years and has never been properly thanked for it.
Mom had the biggest loss of all. Julie told me some of the details of what happened after my dad's death. Mom tried to hold the business together but the physical work was overwhelming.
I have another scene with her and Aunt Dee trying to make mattresses but their strength just wasn't enough. It will have to be a dialogue scene, painted by the speaker--haven't decided who that will be yet--who watched and participated more than I did. I just ate dirt, probably, and peed my pants.
So, the book is getting more complicated. Life is complicated. We don't know what someone else is going through while we merrily waltz Matilda--that is if we know how to waltz and we know Matilda and if she doesn't want to lead. We should always be on the lookout for subtle signs that someone else is in distress--that someone is suffering, is sad, is grieving or even is angry.
I told one of my son's once to, "Watch for the signs." (This was after he teased Gilmore Girl to the edge of insanity and she broke down and cried.) He said, "What signs?" He honestly didn't know. Some of us are more in tune that others but it's a skill that can be taught. Sadly, sufferers aren't likely to say, "Hey listen. I'm having a crappy life. Could you cut me a little slack here?" So we go on our merry way, not helping, not loving or being compassionate. Judging. Often judging.
Life is complicated. We don't know what someone else is dealing with. I wonder if we could be a little more careful. Watch for the subtleties. The sighs. The forced laughter. The silences. The countenance that is devoid of joy. The heavy hands that hang down.
I wonder if a word of kindness would help. A hand on the shoulder. An "I'm sorry." Hardly ever can we change things, but we can listen. We can let the other know, maybe even just by a look, that we might understand, maybe only 10% but that's better than nothing. Maybe even if they see us eat some dirt and pee our pants they could say to themselves, "Well, at least I'm not that bad." Maybe it would help.
I don't think it helped my Mom or my sisters. I was just one more detail that had to be taken care of but maybe it did help. Maybe it gave them something to take their mind off their loss. There is nothing so delightful as a two year old and maybe I was there, at that time for a reason, more than I know.
Anyway, life is complicated, isn't it? I wish we could have a visual image that shows how we are all connected and then a visual image that shows how we have helped one another. I'll bet we would even be connected to Kevin Bacon somehow. Maybe in as little as four steps.