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Sunday, September 12, 2010

My mother, who is in her 84th year, has struggled with disabling guilt all her life. Everything "bad" that happens in life is somehow made to be her fault in my mother's mind.

Since my father died, my mother has spent more and more time watching television. She's obsessed with the weather channel and the news. My mother knew more about the recent fire/explosion in San Bruno, which is 3,000 miles from her, than I did. Slowly but surely, she has come to see that the planet is very complex and volatile, resulting in many natural disasters. When I talked to her by phone the other day, she had a spring in her voice when she told me, "I have the title for the book I'm going to write." Excitedly, I asked her what it was. "IT'S THE PLANET'S FAULT, NOT MINE," my mother announced. "That's great!" I responded; "I will do my best to get you an advance and a contract with a publisher. I expect to see a first draft by December." Mom said: "Yes, well, don't hold your breath." We both laughed.

Guilt is disabling and cuts off life. We were not put on the planet to shoulder responsibility for every mishap and hardship that occurs. It's possible for the mind to change even in old age. Old dogs aren't dead yet, after all. Freedom is always just a breath away.

old dog
sniffing the tree where
she'll be buried

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