Monday, February 25, 2008
Life, around here, has taken a turn in the manic direction.
So, in the interest of retaining what semblance of sanity remains, I am taking a short break from blogging.
I hope to still read some, lurk some and even comment some.
The light at the end of the tunnel is just a flicker.
But its there.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
My mother, a struggling angel, was born on the 12th February 1919.
She was the eldest of 4 children. Living and growing up on a small farm in civil-war torn, rural Ireland in the 1920's was far from idyllic. But she was a fighter, intelligent and ambitious, finished her education, qualified as a nurse and moved to the city. Eventually, marrying a handsome prince and settling down to grow a family.
Girl, boy, girl.
My brother's birth was difficult. "Oxygen-deprivation", they said. A "home" would be the best option for him, they said. She didn't agree. Thereby, sealing her own fate and releasing his spirit. Years of self-sacrifice, soul-scorching rituals, frustration and tiredness followed, taking their life-strangling toll. By the time I was 11 she had lost the battle. Given up the fight.
For 12 long years, she drank herself into oblivion. Trying to escape the mind-numbing pain and loneliness that seemed to engulf her. She hit rock bottom many times only to discover yet another greater, deeper abyss of despair.
Alone. Always. In her head. Without loving support.
My father, himself the product of an alcohol-soaked background, was little more than a shadow. The ostrich-syndrome reigned supreme. If he didn't talk about it, it didn't exist. He was a past master at sweeping unsavoury topics right under the carpet. I don't blame him, now, for his inaction. He did the best that he could. Big sister was grown and away at college, big brother was battling his way through adolescence, and I was 11 years old. Ill-equipped for anything other than rebellion.
My heart aches when I think of angel Annie. Aches for her pain, her struggling, her loneliness, her hopelessness. Aches for my own inability to understand for so many years.
Then, in 1977 she stopped drinking alcohol, forever.
This lovely, fine, sensitive, intelligent angel re-emerged. Changed, inevitably. A bit battered around the edges, but still recognisable. A delicate, refined articulate, unfathomable lady. An expert at playing Bridge. Surrounded by a small network of supportive, recovering friends. She became a leading light in the AA movement, a beacon for the lost and struggling, available anytime, day or night. A light in the darkness. She had regained her sense of self, she had chosen to fight her demons. She had chosen to live.
Unfortunately, even though our relationship was reborn, she was never willing or able to speak of the 12 lost years. The self-protecting barriers were still in place. Never to come down. I didn't dare to venture into that territory, uninvited. I wish, now, that I had been braver.
I think she was happy in the last 7 years of her life. I sat with her when she died in 1984. An angel going home.
Occasionally, I sense her presence around me. It makes me smile inside.
Happy Birthday Angel Annie.
photo credit: www.northstargallery.com