May is motherhood memoir month

Hue of Memories

Guest Post by Gail Snyder

Prompt- The text from my sister left me shaken. The past I thought I knew unravelled a little more.

Sorrow is the hue of my memories, of my understanding of my mother, my family, my childhood. Sorrow, and an ache that cannot be appeased, tenderness lost.

Joyful childhood memories lie dormant in the background; the security of knowing I was loved, that I was safe. But across the miles, casting back through the decades, my sister alludes to resentment, hers and our mother’s.

How is it that the father we loved so dearly, now long dead, is the wretched and unwelcome anchor to which our mother tethers her life? How is it that he still is the focal point of her memories, the subject of conversation for those who will listen? How is it that he has been stripped of all merit in her eyes and heart, only the hurt, real and imagined, remaining?

I wanted to hear her stories…of her childhood, her cherished days as a young and independent woman. I wanted to hear her stories of my childhood, my youth. But the joy ends where her marriage begins, and I didn’t want to listen again to the harms inflicted upon her, the small hurts piled up, leaving little room for love.

I gaze out the window. A chickadee flies to the ground, picks up a peanut, then returns to the safety of the shrubs growing alongside the fence.

(Has a text or phone call ever left you feeling unravelled?)

Gail Snyder, grew up in Australia and now resides in Oregon.

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