Sunday, July 16, 2006

Understanding my mother

I'm reading a book by Ernestine Bradley called "The Way Home: A German Childhood, An American Life" Through it, I am coming to know and understand my mother, who also had a German childhood and American life -- and who, coincidentally, grew up in the same era and within a few kilometers from my mother! (As did the new pope, who was actually a classmate of mom's...oh, I can only imagine THAT friendship -- but that's another story!) How I wish I could share this book with mom... but she died on Easter morning, 2004 after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer.

I have been quite unexpectedly moved to tears, just by reading words or phrases that I've heard all my life, but never absorbed until now. Even more impactful, though, are Bradley's descriptions of her mother -- her fastidiousness, her extreme attachment to and unending defense of her own family juxtaposed against her apparent apathy about most anyone else. She and I, it seems, had very similar mothers... and from her descriptions of her daughters -- first generation Americans, like me -- it sounds like we share similar experiences as well.

I feel a yearning to connect with Ms. Bradley, and once I finish the book, I just might attempt to do that! Maybe, somehow, it will be like re-connecting, just a bit, with Mom again.

Which reminds me -- I should really post about Mom's and my "sisters" trip to Traunstein/Ruhpolding (Bavaria) trip in April 2001, when she was in remission, and just the two of us went back to Germany... both of us reuniting (platonic, of course) with former loves, German men we each might have married, once upon a time...

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