Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
- TITLE: Were all my sacrifices in vain?
By Val Clark
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Do I lack the courage or am I holding to some obscure tendril of misplaced integrity?
Our roads have never been easy. We expected too much of each other. I expected her to be a mother; to nurture me. She expected me to be a daughter; to... I grapple with what that means, how I failed. My carapace grew Kevlar hard as brothers exploit every weakness; impenetrable from a paucity of her praise and encouragement. I feel as far from feminine as a woman can get.
I look down on her sunken features. I want to shout: I can only be who I am! I’m trying but I cannot do this thing. Guilt rocks through me. I can only be who you have made me! But I know that is a lie. I know I am more than the sum of her parts. I have been enlarged by the One who brings love, yet I cannot, or will not, say what she wants to hear. My throat swells with the pain of conflicting emotions. If I fail now there will be no opportunity to redeem myself. And I know, because I know myself, I will fail.
I raise my head and our eyes meet again. She flings out her challenge. Well? Were they? Unwelcome tears course down my cheeks and drip off my nose. She sees them, recognizes their import and her eyes soften and close. Her hand convulses and relaxes. I am reassured that, even though I can’t say the words, in this last moment she knows.
They’ve taken away all the furniture and I kneel at the bed. She is not here but I’m confident she will hear my voice, rough with grief. ‘I love you, Mum. And I am grateful, honestly I am. Thank you.’
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