Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deep, Dark Secret

She had a deep, dark secret. One she couldn't share with her friends, her family, her husband, or her kids. Was it shame that kept her locked in this emotional prison? Was it shame?

To carry such a weight was nearly unbearable. To keep this secret for so long. To long to tell. The overwhelming need. She felt it rise in her throat, inexorably creeping. She wanted so desperately to tell. Anyone. Just share and not feel judged. But she knew judgment was inevitable. And what came with the judgment, she wondered. Would she be worthy anymore? Would her children be unable to respect her? Love her? Could she love herself?

So she wore her secret like an old bandage needing to be removed. Greying and fraying at the edges. Losing it's stick. But she was too frightened of the pain she knew she'd feel in tearing it off.

What did it mean to be a mother? Surely, even a mother is an individual who's entitled to secrets. If our past forms our present, and if who we are is defined by who we've been, then, surely, surely, we are all patchwork people of truths, lies, successes, failures, and secrets.

So why did she feel so duplicitous keeping secrets? Why did she feel that her failures were not just failures, her secrets not just secrets, but were somehow untellable, unthinkable, unknowable? Suddenly, she felt becoming and being a mother had erased her past? Erased everything that she'd made and lost of herself in the years she was before they were born? It all started to feel so surreal, so unreal, like her life was merely an old film she'd seen once. Was anything she'd done or said or been or felt real?  Had any of it actually happened? Or did she begin when her son took his first breath?

Perhaps giving birth takes our own lives, she thought. Perhaps, what we barter for the life of a child, our child, our children, is ourselves.

No one tells you. No one says that you sell your soul to the future to have a child. That your past is buried, but not mourned for no one grieves you when you're still there. And, she thought, that is the darkest secret of them all--one she'd just come to understand. Did she want to grieve for herself? Could she say goodbye?

How do you say goodbye, especially to yourself. How can you think of yourself, and the person you'd planned to become, as gone?

Then her son laughed, the sound rising up above the din of the house. It was some TV show from the other room--Grover or Little Bear. Suddenly, in that moment, she knew she could say good bye and mourn, and she allowed slow tears to drop into her coffee. She knew then that it was okay to let go of her secrets too. That her secrets, that secret, had died with who she was, who she might have been. And she knew, as the tears fell, that everything she had been was a treasure, an inheritance she'd left herself. She was a new woman--of new hopes, new possibilities, new depth for pain and for joy--that was born when he was born.

And, she knew, her inheritance was more valuable than gold.

1 comment:

  1. You are a GREAT writer! I found you on top canadian blogs and i'm glad i did!