Saturday, February 8, 2014

Defining Moments of the Past

Nature. Nurture. Who we are is a complex weave. I am at mid-life which has prompted me down a path of reflection and prediction. What should the next half look like? If I want to make changes then it will take grit. That quality I have in abundance; such an abundance, I have decided it can almost be destructive - almost. Resilience is the twin. Resilience is something that accumulates with each showdown with adversity. I recall two such moments.

Conceived in the Summer of 1964
I am 13 years old and I am in the car with my Aunt. We did not talk about my mother often so I do not know why the topic was broached. Aunt casually mentions my mother got pregnant before my parents married when she was a senior in high school. It was 1964 for my young parents. What?!%$ Aunt truly feels terrible. She thought I knew.

How would I know? No one ever talked about my mother to Brother and me. Had my mother lived, I would have probably figured it out when anniversary and birthday celebrations did not sync up. As it turned out there were no anniversaries to celebrate and frankly my own birthday celebrations were spotty.

Did it matter? Does it matter? Of course not. But I felt a shock go through my soul at age 13 and I could not stop my adolescent eyes from tearing. Add another layer to resilience.

The Accident of 1969
The timing of the next moment of knowledge is not so clear. At some point as a teenager, I asked exactly how my mother was killed in that car accident that included Brother (age 16 months) and me (age 4.) My mother was driving the Volkswagen Bug that ran under the back end of "an old bob-tail truck loaded with plywood. It had broken down on the overpass ... it did not have the protective bar on bed of the truck that would have prevented a car from going under" 18 wheeler. She was decapitated when the top of the car was sheared off. My grandmother was the relater of this awful information to me. My feelings when told this? I think I had more of a numb feeling likely attributable to the resilience already accumulated.

On that day in 1969, I was "standing" sitting next to my mother in the front seat. I know I was conscious after the accident from what I have been told. I suspect I saw her die. I have absolutely no memory of what actually happened.

These two events gave me life and changed my life. Every single day of my adult life, I am amazed at my fortunate life. It still surprises me. I now have this gnaw for something even bigger ... destructive or inspiring? I am not sure yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment