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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aunt Eleanor's Ring - A Bit of Family History

For a long time I have been praying intensely for my son and family who have vanished, for healing, for reconciliation, for truth to be known, to be able to release it all to God, etc, etc etc. I have been grieving anywhere from sobs to lonely tears running down my face. In the past 6 months or so, there have been no sobs but have been many trickles of tears. He did some things that made it clear it does not work for me to be in his life, and he or someone he prodded on did a particularly nasty attack. And he has escalated to his sister with his anger. So somehow I have to accept that he is gone and my beloved grandchildren are gone and his new wife I will not get to know and love.

This morning in the shower, God spoke and gave me a smidgen more of understanding. It involves my mother and her sister, Aunt Eleanor. No one, with the possible exception of me, could upset my mother more than Aunt Eleanor. They were pretty much opposites. Where my mother thought if I laid on the living floor reading the Sunday comics, I had made a total mess of the entire house; Aunt Eleanor sometimes had so much stuff in her home you could only walk through it in a narrow pathway. She was creative, but rarely finished anything. She would make me adorable dresses, but bring them without a hem. Mother grumbled while hemming them. Aunt Eleanor was inspired to begin hundreds of projects and disband them before they were fully explored. So there were the bejeweled piggy banks, some of which we got and some of which stayed undone; there was the knitting machine that only made a few garments; there were piles of projects either forgotten or pushed to the back burner in favor of the latest inspiration. She had discombobulation regarding money too. I remember being awakened in the night and having to sit dozing in the back seat as we drove to Glendale or Eagle Rock or some such place to pay the rent so they wouldn't be thrown out in the street. My parents paid, but did not like doing it.

To me, Aunt Eleanor was fun. She painted my nails red and put my hair up with a thing they used to call the "rat", which was a net covered sausage-looking thing. On the rare occasion when I got to go to her house, I got to stay up late, jump on the bed and have Dr. Pepper and donuts for breakfast. She paid for me to take art lessons and bought me my first textile paints and later oil paints. I loved Aunt Eleanor and cherish the memory of her.

Well, she got breast cancer. It metastasized. Before she was bedridden, she was at my home and took me into the bathroom. I can still see her. She opened a beautiful bag of stunning jewelry. She said she was going to die and wanted me to pick what I wanted to remember her by. I picked a star-burst gold necklace with a diamond in the center. Then she asked me to pick a ring for each of my children but to not give them the rings until they were old enough to appreciate them. So I picked a platinum, diamond and sapphire ring for my son and a gold and diamond ring for my daughter. It was a very tender, joyful and also sad day.

I must inject into this story that for whatever reason, yet to be understood, my mother worked tirelessly to turn my children against me. This comes to play in this insight, so stay with me.

1976 was really, really, really a hard year. My beloved Aunt Eleanor lay bed fast, down to just a skeleton, and passed on in October. Oh how my heart hurt. Then in November our dog died, my first dog, my children's first dog. Double sad. Then on Christmas my husband had an aneurysm in his brain and I became a widow. Deep sadness. A year that was on the edge of too much to bear.

In 1978 my son went off to college. I had showed him the ring and told him I would hold it for him until he wanted it or needed it. We both thought maybe one day it would be an engagement ring. To me it was a very sentimental piece. Well, my dear mother, began calling my son and telling him that I had sold Aunt Eleanor's ring. He would call me angry and accusatory (he always believed her for some reason). I would tell him I did not and would not sell it. When he'd be home for vacations, I would show him the ring. This scenario repeated numerous times. Finally, I got so tired of it, I gave him the ring, which he eventually sold, to my sorrow. I don't know, I have a thing about family history and sentimental things.

So fast forward through many variations of this story, and a bit over a year and a half ago he once again accused me of taking something that was his. He refused to listen to what really happened. A year and a half ago he shunned us and told us he was done with us. Six or seven months ago he vanished.

The story of Aunt Eleanor's ring seems to be a myth (something that never happened but is always going on) that defines our relationship. I guess the seeds my mother planted in his subconscious win out.

I find myself quite confused as well as sad. But, I do see that this is a larger version of the same story "you sold Aunt Eleanor's ring." I don't know why we have to live out this myth over and over again. I don't know at this moment how to stop it or if it can be stopped. I only know I didn't sell the ring and have been accused of this and similar things a hundred times or more by someone I love so very much.

Dear God, thank You for this insight. Now I ask You to show me what I am to do with it. Bring the Light of Your Clarity upon us. If it be possible, if it be Your Will, help this myth to end and cease to define us. Set us free from the false shadows of the past. I trust that Your Good will come out of this in this life or the next.

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