Home > Healing Journey, The Call to Speak out > Time does not stand still

Time does not stand still

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This is a week in the calendar year that I am reminded: time does not stand still.

This picture was taken 10 years ago almost to the day. I am holding my youngest sister who turns 10 tomorrow. She is minutes old. My heart is heavy this week as I am reminded of the years – 9 1/2 – that I have missed of her life. I am privileged to have heard her first cries, laughs and see her sit up on her own. But everything else – her first word, her first step, her first dance, her first music recital – I missed. Time doesn’t stand still.

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One of my brothers turns 13 this week. In my family, we talked about the coming of age at 13 for boys (following the Jewish traditions). I wonder if there will be a special celebration for him as he marks becoming a young man. Seventeen years ago, I witnessed his birth. I had the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord and to hold him as my mom was receiving medical care. I remember him turning blue in my arms and being rushed off to be ventilated. He was in the hospital for the first week of his life and I spent a lot of time with my other siblings so that my mom and stepfather could be there. I can only picture him as this little boy who has a sense of humour and clowns around like no one else. He too is talented I gather from what the rumour weed shares. I miss him. Time doesn’t stand still.

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And today is my mom’s birthday. What a day of mixed feelings for me. In many ways, I am like her – I inherited her creative genes and workaholic-servant-attitude towards people and the church. I love puns and love music. I teach piano as a result of her influence in my life – albeit, it’s not my chosen profession. In many ways though, I am not like her for we have grown apart these 9 1/2 years. Time doesn’t stand still. She doesn’t know the person I have become, what gives me great joy or what breaks my heart. She doesn’t know the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, or any of the things I’ve done really. While children grow and make huge strives in their early years, the past almost decade has been formative and life changing for me. I’m not the same person I was when I left home. I’m thankful for that – and thankful for the growth and change. But my mother no longer knows me.

While I ache with each anniversary and birthday, my mother’s birthday is probably one of the hardest days of the calendar year. I am reminded of how very little I know my own mother. A decade ago, I would have told you all these things about my mother and more. She was the person I admired most. I watched her love one of my siblings who was on a rough path. She wrote letters to him, assuring him of her love and I was amazed at how someone could be hurt so much and still love. Sadly, that is not the mother I know now. Unconditional love is actually very conditional when you share with others the skeletons in your house. This is probably one of the deepest wounds in my life.

If I could pass on words of wisdom to those who have family – treasure it. It won’t always be there. Death and illness do come to all. People move away physically and drift emotionally away. Time doesn’t stand still.

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  1. john sullivan
    September 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Once again a most poignant piece of writing Elizabeth: painful but beautiful.

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