My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Revisionist History

Still Life with Glasses and Tobacco, 1633 Willem Claesz. Heda (1594–1680)

Writing in the memoir genre can make you feel less like you're retelling an authentic part of your story, and more like you're rewriting it. Or should I say it can make me feel that way. Get out my red pen baby, cause we're doing some major editing tonight. There are times when that fine line between truth—yours, mine and ours—isn't straight but wavy. And undulating. Trying to grab onto, and hold it straight to the page, the line slips and slides through our hands, too fine to get a grip on, it flies through our fingers like fishing line spooling out from the reel, unstoppable, when a big one is dangling at the end of it. It's not that our personal stories are whoppers, tall tales a fisherman tells; it's just that our truths don't always match up because they never matched up to begin with. Like a meal we once shared, the fresh swordfish I raved about is what I recall, while you not only know that we drank a bottle of Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc, and that I drank too much of it (another factor in our differing memories of the dinner), you remember the year. 


Those vagaries of memory and mindset may be why I've left a few narratives unfinished; the undoing of my first marriage at twenty two that I posted under the umbrella Leaving Home being one. I think of what I've written so far and I wonder: is it hurtful, unfairly so, and is it even true? Or is it the story I've told myself over and over again, more important to the maintenance of my sense of self, of being a decent person, of being compassionate, than seeing his side might allow me to be? Did I stop because I didn't know the ending, didn't like the ending or because after all these years I still don't know the how or why of it? And what's the point of rehashing the past if you can't put a point on it, if you can't draw a line from A to B and come up with C?
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#AtoZChallenge, The Letter R



Comments

  1. Thanks for all the comments, guys! I'm really getting a kick out this #AtoZChallenge; getting to meet so many people from all over the globe!

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  2. OOPS! I meant to post that comment on Queen Me http://simcarter.blogspot.com/2015/04/queen-me.html?showComment=1429658737435

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