Estranged.... what does this word mean? Webster has the definition as a verb: alienate, disaffect, wean. To cause one to break a bond of affection or loyalty. Wean? I guess that would fulfill the meaning of the word, but still seems strange in that context.
I have been estranged from family members from time to time in my life. Sometimes life is easier when not dealing with what would seem to be overwhelming issues. Better to put them on the back burner, so to speak, and let it go until you feel ready to deal. My mother was one of those family members that I often needed to distance myself from. She was critical and hard to talk to. I loved her and I know that she loved me, but we seldom saw eye to eye. I could agree to disagree, but she was unable to let anything just lie. She would keep any unpleasant item alive for as long as possible. It was all or none at all with Mother. My Dad was always loyal to his wife and I can admire that trait in him; even if it meant that he was also absent in my life when she was. During our last estrangement Mother died. Grief is a funny thing, though. It knows no estrangement. No matter who was right any chance of atonement was lost.
I mourned the loss of my mother and reconnected with my Dad. I have somewhere in my belongings a letter I wrote to her after she died. I know that sounds silly, but the letter was for me as much as it was for her. I would like to think that she was looking over my shoulder as I wrote it. I suppose I will know one day.
My oldest child died last Sunday. He was 39. He was alone by all accounts. I learned of his death only yesterday. We were estranged. I can only hope that he was at peace when he passed on. I was not listed as his next of kin. His sister is/was and she is the one who notified me. I am more stunned by his death than I thought I would be. The world he chose to live in was one that would ensure death at a young age.
As I lay in bed last night I tried to conjure images of the child I had nurtured. I also wondered what role I played in his choices that led to his death. No getting around that age old guilt a mother always feels when her child does something wrong. I am not taking the blame for what his life was, just wondering about my part, no matter how big or small the role.
I will not see him in death. I will remember him alive, as he looked the last time I saw him. No, I think I will remember that teenager on his first date to a dance. He wanted to wear a white sports coat. Very Miami Vice. I went with him shopping and we ended up at the fabric store. I made it for him. I seem to work quite well under pressure as I only had that evening and the next day to complete my assignment. I did and he was quite handsome. Somewhere I have a picture of him with his date. It was shortly after this event that he went to live with his "real dad". He changed dramatically afterwards.
Perhaps that was the turning point in his life, I will never know for sure. I have learned that even before this change in his life he was displaying behaviour that I would not have approved of. Nature or nurture? Who really knows these answers?
Today I am sad. I feel a little helpless, as if I should be doing something. Don't know what, though. In my heart I know that nothing I could have said or done would have changed the outcome for him. I hope he realized that I loved him even when I didn't like him. I hope that he knows that I am shedding tears of grief for him. I hope. Hope is all we have.