Sunday, August 8, 2010
A Life Without Love
Is it possible everyone loves you and you love no one back?
My mother posed me this question when I was hardly 20. I was too stunned to reply her question. I just stared her, blankly and she did the same. Then, slowly, she gazed down on the table and start eating her dinner.
And I did the same. Throughout the dinner, there was an awkward silence between us. Our eyes were fixated on the food that was on our plates. We were afraid to look at each other’s eyes. Only, the sound of our spoons and forks hitting our plates can be heard.
Deep in my heart, I was glad she didn’t pursue the answer to her question … I was glad we didn’t have an intense discussion on this topic. I was afraid of the conclusion of our discussions. I was not ready to face the truth. Till the day she died, she never brought up this question again.
To a certain degree, I could felt my mother was afraid as I was. Like me, she was not ready to face the truth, too. She didn’t want to rock the boat. She preferred to let sleeping dogs lie. I shared her similar feelings.
Both of us knew the answers in our hearts but we were not brave enough to bring the answers from our hearts to our mouths. Perhaps, some questions are not to be answered.
But if truth to be told, my mother had mastered the art of getting everyone to love her and she love no one back. My mother had one of those charming personalities where she doesn’t have to do anything and people just loved her. What they failed to see is my mother feels nothing for them.
My mother never demanded to be loved. She was one of those individuals who could live a life without love. Some people have to walked miles and miles to find love. But with my mother, love came knocking at her door, easily and she can never appreciated this fact. I, truly, believed my mother was born handicap. But her handicap is the rare kind. She simply doesn’t have a heart to love.
She can’t even bring herself to love the man she called husband and the man I called father. She lost her husband at the young age of 30. When the police informed her about my father’s terrible a car accident, my mother had no emotion all. If anything I noticed there was a sigh of relief, as she does not have to pretend to be a caring wife anymore.
She was happier to be in a widow’s shoes. At my father’s funeral she stood there like a lifeless statue. Everyone at the funeral thought she too grief stricken to show any emotions. They pitted for her. They felt the God was unkind to make her a widow at the young age. They never stopped hugging her. They never stopped consoling her.
In reality she just can’t wait for the funeral service to be over. She was eager to go back to the comfort of her home and perhaps reading one of her favorite novels. She was wanted so desperately to go as far away as she can from the overly dramatic emotions that my father’s friends were showering at her husband’s funeral. If only his friends had known the truth, they would have probably spat my mother’s face, called her unkind names and dragged her out of my father’s funeral.
Even her own mother could feel she didn’t have a heart to love. On her dying bed, her mother said to me “ Please forgive your grandmother! I have raised a monster.” Looking back now I can never blamed her parents. My mother didn’t have a tragic childhood. If anything her childhood was a blissful one and a dream that every orphan looks forward too. Her parents never stopped showering my mother with love and more love
Perhaps God had just forgotten to put a functional heart in my mother. Therefore, she can’t bring herself to love anyone. I remembered years ago, asking her why she married my dad. I was expecting the usual answers – “It was love at first sight”… “He was handsome and had the kindest heart”… “He was so romantic and never stopped pursuing me.”
With my mother, you can never expect the usual answer. “Jason, I married your father so that I can know the meaning of love,” she said.
Sadly, marriage failed her miserably. My mother never learned to love my father even though he worshipped the ground she walked on. He never stopped loving her even though he knows she has a cold heart that can never love him back. He believed he can changed her.
He had high hopes that one day his wife will love him as much as her loved her. I believed, sometimes, my father had convinced himself that he was Rhett Butler from the movie Gone With The Wind who will in the end win the love of heartless and beautiful Scarlett O’Hara which was my mom. Of course my father will make sure his Gone With The Wind will have a happy ending. He will learn to forgive his Scarlett O’Hara and together they will walk into the sunset, holding each other’s hand and gazing at each other eyes, lovingly. But my father failed to understand life is not movies.
There are some people who simply don’t change. My father should have learned there are possibilities for leopards to change their spots but not my mother. Sometimes I felt my home was like an asylum where I had a father cannot accept reality, a mother cannot love any one and I was this lousy psychologist who cannot find cures for my parents. Of course my father died of broken heart and my mother never learned to love him till his last breath.
But my mother wanted to learn the meaning of love, so badly. She desperately wanted to be so normal. She wanted so badly to fit into the society where love is a normal expression. When she found marriage failed cure her handicap, she resorted to motherhood. She read somewhere mothers are angels in disguise and they have natural instincts to love their flesh and blood. And that was her reason to have me.
But like marriage, motherhood failed her miserably, too. She began to accept it was fated she is never meant to love anyone but herself. She began to believe not all mothers are angels in disguises… not all mothers are meant to love their children.
When I was young, I must confessed that I hard time accepting my mother didn’t love me. All children want their mothers to love them and I was no different. I did everything in my power to make her love me. I was hopping that I can change her…I could make her love me.
But unlike my father, over the years, l learned winning her love was an impossible task. There are possibilities for leopards to change their spots but not my mother. Perhaps my mother was right that not all mothers are meant to love their children.
When I was old enough, I made a point to accept a job where I will be far away from her. I wanted to give her freedom where she doesn’t have to be my mother anymore. Most mothers will be sad when their only child will be so far away from them. But my mother was different. I could see joy was dancing in her face. Finally she can be alone. A lot people are afraid to be alone. But she cherished the companion of loneliness than people. I can fully understand her motivation wanting to be alone.
When she was alone, she can truly be herself…she doesn’t have to conform to the society norm where love is supposed to be natural expression. She can lead a life without love, with some peace and without have any guilt. She was most comfortable when she was alone.
I only visited her during Christmas Holidays. I do not want to intrude her new life with loneliness. I could feel there certain amount of tension whenever I returned home. She can’t wait for the Christmas Holidays to be over, so she can be alone again.
When she was on her dying bed, I went to see her. I hoped she become a changed person and developed a heart to love. When you are near death, people become different… people become less heartless. But my mother never changed. She never talked about love. It is possible for leopards to change their spots but not my mother.
At her funeral, I promised that I would not cry for her. After all, she never loved me. But I never kept to my promise. Tears never stopped streaming down my eyes. She can’t bring herself to love me and I can’t bring myself to hate her. Not all children are meant to hate their mothers.