Friday, December 30, 2005

The pain we carry inside

War hit my family hard. I grew up hearing the stories of the camps. I grew up thinking the camps were fun! Mommy always had a funny or cute story about her childhood in the barracks. How each day one of the children was allowed to lick off my grandmothers plate. (She still does that and I hate it.) My grandmother told my mother everyday that the soldiers had eyes in the back of their heads, so the kids wouldn't make faces at them. (Of course mommy went and investigated this outrageous claim.)
Not a year ago, my mom called me up. After a couple of minutes of smalltalk she used another wartime story to illustrate her point. I interrupted her: "Mom, you make it sound like summercamp. But it must have been horrible too."
There was a pause. A silence. In the distance I heard a little girls sob and the connection was broken.
If I remember correctly, I sat down, lit another cigarette, changed my mind and got in my car. It takes me about 20 minutes to drive over to her place. I didn't ring. Used my key to enter. She was half sitting, half lying in the center of the livingroom floor. Her face was a demons mask. Completely red, bloated and covered in tears and snot. Her mouth open in a silent scream. She was shivering. Trying to stop the tidal wave of 50 years of repressed pain from rushing out of her.
I sat down beside her. No touching. We don't touch. Silent.
It took her a long time to form the sentence. She had to force the words out of her mouth one by one. An excrutiating sight. The fight between the mute hurt-incarnate and my mother, living side by side in that frail 60 year old body. Never meeting, never speaking.
When the last word came out she relaxed. I helped her up. She apologized and went to her kitchen to cook for me.
She had just told me what I already knew. A message she had transmitted in her behavior over and over again during my childhood.

"I saw them beat the women to death."


Anonymous Laila said...

I don't really know what that kind of pain is... You've showed me the side effect of it, though, through this post, Bulb. It is not easy to have seeds of a plant of sorrow, like that one, germinating in our heart and in every inch of our body. It is impossible to recover, to stop new sprouts, to terminate before it turns into bad weed.

4:04 PM  
Blogger fineartist said...

Like Laila, I have never experienced the particular pain that you write about here, but you have shown me a taste of it.

Sometimes the pain escapes us.

Sometimes we are caught off guard, or we let our guard down for a moment and the pain hits us and rushes out of us before we know what has happened.

Sometimes it helps to release the pain, it would be more helpful if it didn’t leave a residue. If it cleanly removed itself and never returned. If the pain could be erased.

They say that time heals, and it has been my experience that it does to a degree lesson the pain of the wound, by allowing it the time to develop a scar, but time, in no way erases the scar. Ever.

Bulb, the depths of who you are…..what I am trying to say, in a not very articulate way, is when I look into who you are I am glad to know you.

10:36 PM  
Blogger bulb said...


Any chance of a pityfuck?

1:04 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

All I can see here is a woman who somehow held her dignity together with thin strands of happy stories, someone who determined not to have her soul crushed.
Maybe she's seemed a little screwy between then and now, living on such a tightrope, but WOW Bulb, what a woman.

Really affected by this post - thank you.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Rain said...

My ex in-laws were in Siberian camps. It affects them in every way, and their son, my ex husband was affected by it as well, and I think it has even passed it’s legacy onto my daughter. Such a sadness , my husbands grandmother used to walk around with a photo of her daughter who died, I believe of malnutrition in the camps, and she would rub the photo and cry and pray her rosary. She would show me the photo and say, “such a good girl”
The stories are beyond heartbreaking, all we can do is help to bear witness, so the world doesn't forget. And that's just what you did .Ah it's very sad. but thanks for writing it.
Have you ever read “Possessing the secret of Joy“? I couldn’t wait to find out what this secret of joy was according to Ms. Walker. It was bearing witness to the atrocities of the world and objecting to them as loudly as we can.

2:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really know what to say I'll be pleasing and let you know that I would give you a pity fuck for this ;)

4:50 PM  
Blogger CiscoKid said...

There are such unimaginable pains that people experience. Lucky are the ones who are spared this kind of pain or experience..

6:56 AM  

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