Saturday, March 29, 2008


I know several people that lost one or more parents when they were young, and they practically make it their life's work to learn who they are. It's so impressive. Really. I think that. I think that those of us that did not lose a parent when we were young, are less inclined to do the same thing. Why is that? Are our lives any less mysterious?

I was sitting across from my cousin, Nancy, last week. She's 15 years older than me. A whole generation really. When she got married I was seven. We reminisced about her wedding, since it took place on our family-owned property, "WUG," and the meadow is forever named, "Nancy's Meadow." Without revealing just how many mind-altering substances were involved, let's just say that is not my memory of her wedding. I remember changing out of a filthy bathing suit, having my sunburned scalp brushed by my mom, and putting on my favorite dress, the one with the keyholes. That's what I remember, how funny it felt to dress up while camping. No running water, no electricity, but getting dressed up.

"I liked the post you wrote about your conversation with your mom," Nancy said, "the one where you reminded her you weren't leaving your kids with your dad, you were leaving them with YOUR husband."

When she said that I had an "aha." There was a look on her face, a tone to her voice. A knowing. Clearly she has a story about my dad, and clearly it's not great, and clearly she knows that leaving children with him was not the best move in the world.

I want to know that story. I want to know what the story of my life is, from another's perspective.

I want to know my whole life story. I just figured that out. I only know my perspective of my life. If my perspective of a wedding in 1970 is forever trapped by the memory of a seven-year-old, then certainly the memories of my father are also trapped in childhood. What happened that I don't know about? What do others know that I don't? How did those that were on the outside of our story, view it? I want that perspective. It may or may not change anything for me. But I want it.

In Nancy's family there had been a great tragedy. I knew of this great tragedy always, my mom told me. My mom had been there at the time. Nancy and her siblings were either too young or not even born yet. They grew up not knowing the details of "the great tragedy," but I did. I knew them. I was able to share what I knew with one of Nancy's sisters a year ago. I didn't even know I knew something she'd spent most of her life looking for. I had it the whole time.

I think that often there are people right in front of us that know what it is we search so hard to find. We just need to find those people and ask.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7

I'm asking.

I'm seeking.

I'm knocking.

It's opening.

Here I go.


kario said...

I can absolutely identify with that longing. Here's hoping we both get some answers. I'm looking for some of that from my father this week.

On the other hand, we might be careful what we wish for....


Anonymous said...

I totally get this. I have been doing a lot of this myself. When my dad was sick, we spent a lot of time talking, or I should say he spent a lot of time talking and explaining things to me. We were sitting at the Chesapeake Bay, and I bet we talked for 5 hours. So much he wanted me to know. So much I wasn't sure I wanted to know. Now I'm glad I do.

The past several months I've been contacting distant cousins for info. on family stuff. It's hard, my parents had no siblings, so no aunts, uncles or cousins. BUT, I am close with the distant ones, so I am learing some things.

I understand this Carrie. It makes so much sense to me. Just remember perceptions...can be tricky.

lo said...

Are you sure you wrote that and not ME?!?!!?!?!!?
Talk about hitting the nail on the head.
More later-THIS is part of my ELD story.

Deb said...

Great questions! Such courage to ask. I know you'll find freedom and peace in the truth that's to be found in the answers. I hope you'll share. Love.

Shauna Belknap said...

That perspective is so powerful. As I've gone through my divorce I've told myself that it's important to be open and truly see my role in the marriage and, ultimately, its undoing. I've learned so much about myself that I've needed to know. Wearning blinders may feel safer, but there's no enlightenment there. No growth. No power.

I've missed you too, Carrie. It's good to be back--especially to your blog.

Douglas W said...

This is great Carrie. My father died when I was at college... still the 'rebellious adolescent' perhaps... and I have for ever wished that I had known him better and that he had known me and what I did with my life.

Later I researched his origins, his career and life and wrote about them in my family history pages. I feel I very belatedly got to know him.

Jerri said...

Happy hunting, Carrie.

Family stories fascinate me. My folks are still living, so the stories are there for the taking, and I know how lucky that makes me. Still, their stories have only their own perspective. It would be great to hear those same stories from other viewpoints.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

I knew that about perspective, that each of us sees things from our own point of view.
Now, though, I heard it.
I love it when I can hear things again for the first time!

Anonymous said...


That, too, could be me. My father was not 'a good person to leave kids with ' and yet I was in his care alone and I've often wondered about truly why the choices that were made, were made. I can only see it through my at-the-time-nine-year-old eyes. Thanks for helping me understand that all these years later I am not alone in wanting the whole story.