Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How did your life turn out?

What an archaeological mine our minds and genes ; what a stew of possibilities,experiences, readings and encounters provide. We live in a connected and distorted world.  If we were to take any snapshot at any moment in time to "capture" our "status", nothing clear or "readable" will appear. Who we are changes as we speak; yet, we leave enduring images.

I could blame my mother for telling me, time and time again that truth lies not in what can be seen, but deep in people's hearts, in roots of century- old olive trees, in the clear night sky still too far at that time for any cosmonaut to travel to. Truth, like God, she said, is experienced in little chunks, in a child's kiss, a lover's first poem, a rainbow on a miserable cold day, on a letter from a long lost relative. Truth is too big to understand in our lifetime. Riches and crooks  exist in the same space and time, hardly distinguishable one from the other.

Mother had lived trough two world wars, famines and losses, death and destruction. She didn't fear these. She feared the hearts of men, the promises of false prophets, the betrayal at the hands of loved ones. These days we'd call her paranoid.

No wonder then that if we think about how our lives turned out, we'd have a different answer depending on the day, the hour, the food we just ate, the argument we just lost, and even the comment we read on a friend's blog. Come to think of it,  what a good question that would make for a communal conversation across the globe....

Are you up for it?
Here I go with my answer:

My life turned out so much better than I ever envisioned; and so much harder and sadder too. I've been healthier and luckier at love and work and family life. I've worked harder and longer than I ever thought I'd work. I have had a loving and thoughtful family without my working very much at it. I never anticipated loosing a son, and still four years later, I can't ease that pain at all. 

I'd say, my mother was a tad wrong on so many things; but oh, so right on the important things.


Karen Dowd-Hansen said...

Yes, my mother also was right on so many things. It is good that there are some surprises, though, both good and bad. If we anticipated the bad times and hardships, we would be afraid to fully live our lives. You only get one chance - it is best to live it well!

joeh said...

I would say I was disappointed in how little I accomplished, but also proud to have not caused any harm.

Cynthia Pittmann, PhD said...

Hi Rosario, I think about my mother a lot. A month before she died, she told me that she was happy with how my life turned out. She was proud of me for obtaining my degrees and in my career choice. She appreciated the family I had created and how we lived.

Instead of saying thank you, I told her that I was thinking of changing my life starting with my career. She said that it doesn't matter what I do. She was proud of me anyway. Much of what she told me about life was true but she was still working on her answers to life puzzles. I'm still seeking answers, too though Ive lived longer than her. The answers don't matter but we should keep seeking meaning - that's what I believe.

I'm deeply saddened to read about the loss of your son. I admire your continued engagement in life as I share your pain. When we lose a loved one unexpectedly, it shakes the foundation of our beliefs. We have to reorient ourselves and begin again. I open my heart to you and send you love.

LindyLou Mac said...

We never know on what path life will take us next, a post that I will reflect on my friend.

Helen said...

Dear Rosaria,
Your question deserves a bit of thought ... I'll return. Or perhaps I should begin writing again? It's been too long. One thing I know ~~ I should have listened more closely to the advice my mother shared. Take care.

dianefaith said...

It depends on which day you ask me. I married at 18, just out of high school, and some days I'm mad at myself for not taking a few years to be on my own, to develop my own interests. I enjoy alone time so much that some days I think I was not meant for marriage at all. But, I married a good man, and I love my children and now my grandchildren more than I could have ever imagined . . . wouldn't want to miss that.

yaya said...

My Mother was, and still is, the smartest woman I know. I still want to grow up to be like her! My life has had it's turns that gave me vertigo but so far I have managed to hang in there. I have a really good hubby that I love with all my heart and 4 great sons and grandkiddos that have all of my heart also! Thankfully hearts are made of elastic when it comes to love. But no life is perfect and if somebody says theirs is, they are liars. But that's OK...challenges keep us sharp and focused on the really important stuff. My Sister lost a son when he was 18 and I've watched her go through life like a puzzle with a missing's never the same and never complete without him. I think you are an amazing lady and I'm so glad to have met you here is blogland...prayers and hugs to you and a life well lived!

Retired English Teacher said...

Beautiful. That is a question that all of us should ask ourselves. I feel like I should print out your post as a thought provoker.

Would your mother really be thought of as paranoid? I think she has some great ideas on what to fear and what not to fear. But then, I'm probably a bit paranoid.

I love the answer to your question. Dear Rosaria, your life isn't over yet. Surely you have years to go.

I think my answer would be much like yours. My life is richer in love and friendship than I ever imagined. I enjoy great material comfort. More than I would have ever thought possible when I was a desperately poor struggling single mom. My physical health has been a shock. I thought I would always enjoy great health. That has not been the case. I am blessed with a loving family with just enough drama to keep it interesting. (And enough to keep me on my knees.) Like you, I never imagined losing a child. The pain has eased a bit, or has it? I am changed in ways I never could have imagined by this great loss.

Hugs to you, dear friend. XO

A Cuban In London said...

Your post is a powerful reminder of how unpredictable life can be sometimes. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Paris Rendez-vous and Beyond said...

Lovely post....reflective. All the very best to you dear really is beautiful....despite disappointments and sadnesses. I try to celebrate it and appreciate the simple things more and more every day.

Take care.



ellen abbott said...

day to day events don't really impact my opinion of how my life turned out. I have a good life, it's been a good life. I've had hardships and pain and things that didn't turn out quite like AI wanted or expected but overall, I have good health, kids and grandkids, I followed my bliss as they say and have made a good life doing what I love to do.

#1Nana said...

It's fun to read your blog now and recognize the photos...I know that beach! I was thinking of my mother this week; her birthday was the 28th. Although she has been dead for eight years, I haven't come to terms with our relationship. It's only recently that I've recognized that she really was mentally ill...not a good place to get life advice!

It was lovely to meet you in person. We hope to come back to Port Orford again as hosts next season and stay longer.

the walking man said...

I have to preface the answer before answering. My parents between them had 6 degrees, my father especially after WWII and 8 years in the Navy attained his PhD. in Chemical Engineering in 5 years, his bachelors in in 1.5 then his MS in Pharmacy in 2 then the PhD. moms had her MSW, and 2 BA's. My siblings between them count 1 lawyer who was a managing editor journalist, a MSW, a ED. and 1 with an MBA. Then there is I, who will never stop proudly saying I failed algebra 1-7x's.

There was 3 newspapers in our house every day but Thursday, then there were 4, hundreds of books from Chekhov to pulp. I was 4th of 5 (the Chekhov was mine)I split at 17, enlisted and did my time didn't learn a useful skill in the military and may just be the only honorably discharged veteran that never fired a gun. Not even in boot camp.

But on a WWII era Destroyer (400 ft longx75 ft wide)I saw 40 foot waves rolling in on us and deep water North Atlantic that was -30, great ride loved every minute of it. Was discharged a few months early because the draw down from Nam was on. Saigon fell. I wasn't 21 yet. The day I turned 21 I left again, spent the next few years going where I wanted as I wanted, mountains, deserts, plains, cities and too many towns to even remember except that the church steeples were always the highest building in the town.

Don't know why but I came back here and got married, had two kids and divorce all within 3 years. *meh*

4 years later got married again that was 30 years ago. In the intervening years I worked, I used my hands and back and brain, I did 2 full time jobs for 12 years. Then 15 years ago I broke my back at work, 2 years later my neck, 5 years after that my neck again.

OK so how did it all turn out--I was forced to retire 13 years ago, the first 5 were the hardest years of my life (next to losing my kids)when it finally settled in that no doctor was ever going to release me to return to work I had to quit trying to go back. When 9 different doctors refuse to sign the release to work form I had to recreate myself again. In between broken necks I tried school, that was good but never was able to finish the two years.

So I became what my grandmother told me I was destined for, a writer. She never said i would be famous or make money at it but that she saw it in me. I have been consistently writing and editing (for others) since I was 14.

But the big lesson throughout that took me so long to learn was to not label myself. Looking back I can honestly say that for a guy who never had a plan or path I have very few regrets. Looking forward I can honestly say I do not know where or when the last day comes and pretty much don't care because i resolve all issues in the now. My life has brought me to 3/4 content, 1/8 curious about what I don't know and unfortunately 1/8 livid at Detroit, simply because it has devolved to a contemptible place. I try to remain focused on the 7/8 but see the 1/8 every single day. So finally to answer the question how do i feel my life turned out? Rosaria every moment, both the ugly and beautiful are alive still within me and it has been a life worth living.

Velva said...

Awesome post :-) As always, I come away with something more-


stardust said...

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.” I have understood this as I grow. Sorry to hear about the loss of your son, one of the most severest agonies, but I’ll try to think that the sadness now is part of the pleasures with him in the past and the whenever you remember him, he is beside you.

Thank you for this insightful and reflective post as well as your visit and a comment. Let’s take preventive measures and precautions together on the opposite side of this globe.


kj said...

i didn't know you lost your son and i am so sorry. I have only one daughter and she is healthy and happy. i'm thankful for that more than anything else in my life. i know things can change in a flash and i've been witness to the nobility and the heartbreaks of many others, and my own.

i am proud of my life. I have little idea where it's heading. I don't even know how I feel about that. I know I am a pretty nice person and finally, i know i'm smart, resourceful, observant.

i thank my Mother too. your Mother sounds incredibly wise.

and walking man, my friend mark: nice to know all this about you.

thanks, rosaria. wonderful post.


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