Portent

Low level gloom tripping over my feet all week. Thought it was anxiety, back again, pounding at my head and heart.

Black branches like arteries in my face, sinuous, raw. Shabby steel fences blocking my path, every turn, until the only thing to do is to stand still and feel, and smell the dark air; clinging like deep night.

I waited for the anxiety to take hold – the filthy, nauseating, eye-blurring, heavy breathing breadth of it – but it never came.

Instead there was a phone call. My friend, Jules. Now living in England, safe, thank God from riots and economic uncertainty, but not safe, never safe from what love can do. So-called love.

My Mum’s had a stroke, she said. She’s paralysed. I think I should come home.

Jules is Australian. One of my oldest friends. She is now living in England with her husband and children. She comes from a very wealthy family. Her mother does not approve of  Jules’  musician husband and has not spoken to her daughter for over ten years. She has never met her grandchildren. She sends back gifts Jules and the children leave tentatively at her door. Unopened.

When Jules told her she was moving to England she didn’t even respond, didn’t even say goodbye.

Let the bitch rot, was my first thought. Strike me down for being uncharitable but I have seen what this woman who should never really be called a mother has brought about. I have seen my kind-hearted, compassionate, sweet-natured friend lie on the floor clutching her stomach and weeping at what her mother has done. Or not done. I have seen a woman who always looks on the bright side being forced to admit that sometimes the day is dark.

What if she dies alone? There is a quiver in Jules voice that breaks my heart. There is hope in that quiver and a kind of pleading.

Please love me, it says. Please. At the final hour please love me.

The sadness could rip my soul right out if I let it.

The quiver is my undoing. I cannot talk Jules out of not letting her mother lie in the bed she has made. I’ll meet you at the airport, I say. And I’ll come with you to the hospital.

I don’t want to see Jules’ mother. But I do want to see what she does. I want to see if she is capable at the end of her life of bypassing the coldness that has enveloped her heart and extending her hand to her daughter who has only ever acted out of love.

I need to know that at the end even the cold-hearted, the black-hearted, the broken-hearted can speak in their real voices and tilt their heads to the sunlight. I need to see it.

I need to know that the dark air biting all week at my feet wasn’t a portent but an indication of some kind of miracle. I need to look out the window and see radiance.

Advertisements

39 thoughts on “Portent

  1. I personally think there’s nothing sadder than a mother repudiating her children because they didn’t act according to her wishes. While it’s probably disappointing that children don’t always act according to their parents’ wishes, it’s even more disappointing that parents, despite their age and supposed wisdom, fail to see their children as individuals instead of their appendages. They say that parents act out of love of their children, but when parents get upset over their children’s choice in love, I wonder if all they really care about is saving face in society.

    Then again, what do I know; I’ve never been a parent.

    Like

    1. Maimoona, it doesn’t matter that you haven’t been a parent, some things just come down to treating people with consideration whether you’re a parent or not and I know you get that. You are a very wise person and I do value your comments.

      It is so sad to be rejected by a parent over money. That’s really what this is all about. In the end it’s true what they say – ‘You can’t take it with you’ – so why let it rule and ruin everything you do?
      I hope that Jules’ mother in the end can make things right!

      Like

  2. Incredibly sad situation, Selma, and I absolutely agree with Maimoona’s comment. I would say that as a friend to Jules, you are right to not talk her out of coming – whether her mother responds to her or not, she will have more closure than if she didn’t come: even if unfounded, guilt is a terrible thing and can be one’s undoing years down the track.

    Like

    1. I completely agree, Bluebee. Closure is very important in this situation. It would have been wrong of me to try and talk Jules out of it. I know what guilt is like – very destructive. I am just praying right now the whole thing will end better than I think it will.

      Like

  3. There is a radiance ALWAYS within you Selma, never forget that. Some days, I just feel like going out the door and running and never stopping to consider where, just feeling free and running, running…but things will get better, we can’t give up on the good things, the good people, even on the darkest days we have. If we do, darkness wins, we lose. Hang in there. I was just thinking about you right now, and there you were at my red velvet post at MPP, how cool is that. I send many hugs and good light your way. G

    Like

  4. PS: I didn’t mean to ignore the other part of your post. I am so sorry for your friend Jules, what a heartache. Why do families act the way they do at times, life is so very short. Hugs to her too.

    Like

    1. I think we experienced a bit of happenstance today, G. I was over at your blog at the same time you were over at mine. How amazing is that? Thank you for thinking of me, it does mean a lot. I think of you often too. I don’t know why families act the way they do sometimes. It all seems so unnecessary. Thanks for the hugs!

      Like

  5. I am so sorry for Jules’ situation, but I will say she is very lucky, because no matter what happens, no matter what her mother might or might not say or do, she has you.

    She has you to help her through this time and show her that she’s loved by her true family. I’ll be sending positive thoughts and energy and much love to both of you.

    K-

    Like

  6. Sorry to hear about your friend’s dilemma. I hope that it all works out for the best, and it sounds like she has a great friend for support in you.

    Like

    1. I do so hope it works out too. I have everything crossed. I want it more than anything. Jules arrives tomorrow evening. I am on tenterhooks!

      Like

  7. Hi Selma,
    I think your friend is doing the right thing by wanting to come home and see her mother, if she didn’t come and her mother died, she would never forgive herself, this I feel is good for her own piece of mind.
    I will never understand Parents like Jules mother.

    Like

    1. You are so right, Mags. No matter what the outcome it will be best for Jules to do this. She would probably regret it for the rest of her life if she didn’t. And I agree – I will never understand parents like Jules mother, either.

      Like

    1. I’m really excited to see her again, Gabe. But I hope, hope, hope she isn’t disappointed. I suppose we’ll all just have to wait and see….

      Like

  8. Ah my darling, hugs for you AND for Jules. (What an inadequate sentiment – sorry!) Wish I could be there for you BOTH – and make you chicken soup. 🙂

    Like

  9. What a sweet, forgiving lady your friend must be!

    I once knew a young man in a similar situation; I said did he want compassionate leave? He said no thanks; he’ll only think I’m there looking for a share of his money, and I don’t want a penny from the old bastard!

    But, twenty years later, I still ask myself if I should have tried a little more to persuade him to go.

    Like

    1. Jules is the epitome of sweetness. I can’t believe how forgiving she is. I know what you mean about the young man – I hope he didn’t regret it. It’s one of those situations where it can be hard to know what to do. That’s why I thought I really have no right to talk Jules out of it.

      Like

  10. this is so moving selma, and it is such a sadly common thing, this disconnection between mothers and daughters, everyone has it to some degree but this one is way over the top. i am so glad for Jules that you will be there for her. it’s a kind of generosity that comes from the heart regardless of the circumstances. and i know that you will find some way to have compassion for Jules mother, hard as it may be. because she really did wrong to herself as well as to her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren

    Like

    1. I have been thinking about this all night, Tipota, and I do feel compassion for Jules’ mother because she has backed herself into a corner and just seems so unhappy. I wouldn’t really wish that on anyone. I used to say: ‘She’ll pay for what she’s done someday’ but you know what? I think she’s been paying all along. She is alone. She has bucketloads of money, but she is alone. And that is very sad. I am glad Jules will be there too – it is the best thing she could do for herself!

      Like

  11. It’s always sad (not to mention incomprehensible) to me when family members become mired in a stubborn stance of “I’m right and you’re wrong.” It’s especially sad when the resulting alienation is between a parent and child.

    I hope that Jules’ mother can set aside her pride and let her daughter know that she loved her all along, because I’m sure she did. I know how desperately Jules must want that. But some people are just unable to change, even when it’s their last chance to make it right. Jules should know that she did the right thing. And that her mother’s behavior has nothing to do with a shortcoming on her part, and everything to do with the mother’s shortcomings.

    Still, I know it’s heartbreaking.

    Like

    1. You are so right, PattiKen with your point about how some people are unable to change even when it’s their last chance to make it right. It’s almost as if Jules’ mother has characterised herself in a certain way, to act a certain way, and she is now unable to move away from that. I hope that in the end she can break out and be her true self. I am praying for it.

      Like

    1. I hope she softens too, Deborah. I have everything it is possible to cross, crossed. Thank you SO much for the love and hugs. They really help XX

      Like

  12. I can only think that the mother must have felt deeply hurt in some why…that is usually why people act in such a manner. Still, that cannot justify a heart devoid of all love, human kindness, compassion, or “forgiveness.”.to one’s own flesh and blood! It’s too bad, because ultimately, all that should be left at the end is forgiveness from both sides.

    Like

    1. I think Jules’ mother was hurt initially by Jules not wanting to marry the son of a long term (very wealthy) family friend and Jules now deceased father taking his daughter’s side. The whole thing is like a saga from a novel or film. I didn’t realise when one is very wealthy like that, that love is not part of the equation in a relationship.

      Whether or not Jules married someone ‘unacceptable’ to piss her mother off is something I can’t say for sure. All I know is it’s been nearly 15 years and surely that’s enough time to let it all go. You’re right – I hope there is forgiveness from both sides.

      Like

  13. Sometimes families just suck. You’re lucky if you belong to one that knows how to do it right, there are so many that don’t. I have always lived by the saying that you can pick your friends to be your family and Jules is very in tune to have picked you, sweet Selma.
    I pray this has a good ending for all … and I love your writing, have I said that already?

    Like

    1. Awww, Susan. I do appreciate your kind feedback. You can’t pick your families – I know that all too well. I am glad to have Jules as a friend – she has done so much for me. The least I can do is to be here for her now. I pray it has a good ending too. Fingers crossed!

      Like

  14. I think your friend is doing exactly the right thing, even at the risk of being hurt again. Once her mother is gone, she’s gone and Jules will have a lifetime of wondering what if, if she doesn’t go.

    The worst that can happen is that her mother rejects her again, and I’m sure with you there, she’d get through that. But I suspect her mother will be glad to see her. The only thing I’d say is don’t expect it to be one extreme or the other. In my own experience, reality has usually been a rather boring middle way, neither tantrums and never darken my door again, nor the big hug and the weeping and the apology. When my mother was dying, I was in a sort of similar situation. My Mum was content to see me but never brought up any of the old stuff that had torn the family apart, and certainly never apologised or empathised – she was in denial to the end. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised by that as she’d spent thirty years being in denial.
    I wish Jules the best possible meeting she could hope for – hope it goes well.

    Like

    1. That is great advice, Puddock. I know that Jules doesn’t expect too much but something would be nice. Just a little bit. It’s such a difficult situation. No one really knows how it will turn out.

      Like

  15. I really feel for Jules. I am glad you will be with her and she will at least know that they have probably a last chance to put things right between them.

    Like

    1. I try to be a good friend. It’s the least I can do considering all she has done for me. But it still hurts me when I see her hurt, you know? Life is not easy sometimes…..

      Like

  16. How sad. I couldn’t ever imagine a scenario where I would turn my back on my children or grandchildren. I feel for your friend cos there is always the hope for acceptance and disbeleif that ones own parnet would willingly turn away from their own child. It’s sickening, as you know we’ve gone through this with hubs mother and family, and my stomach hurts at the thought of what such rejection does to a person. Not to mention the grandchildren who wonder whats wrong with them that theyve been cast away.

    Oh Selma, you did the right thing, be there to hug her and let her cry it out cos people rarely change. Altho I hope for her sake her mom lets go of this stupid grudge…god how could she turn away from her own flesh and blood? Mind boggling.

    Like

    1. Oh, I know, hon, I really do. And I know what you’ve gone through and how hard it’s been for you. You think you’ll be OK with the rejection but at the back of your mind it’s always there with a little voice saying :’ I’m not good enough.’ It eats away at you over time. Very hard to cope with. I wish people would think more carefully before they reject in such a heavy-handed way. It can be devastating.

      Like

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: