Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Journey: Jen's Thoughts

I appreciate my children adding their thoughts to this process. The timing this week has been good, too. I needed a break, and I have a magazine to get out at the Bugler. I have had interviews with the Chief of Infantry and the Commanding General at Fort Benning. Between transcribing and revising, I haven’t had much time for other writing.

Jenifer was almost six when Allison died.

Today she is thirty-three, the lead esthetician at Zama Massage in Portland, Oregon, and does small business accounting on the side.

From Jen: 

You have asked before if I thought Allison's death could be connected to some of my struggles as an adult today. I haven't really connected with that question. I didn't think it did. I don't feel sad. I don't feel grief. I don't really remember that much about what I felt at the time.
I remember wanting to go to the appointments with you because afterwards we would get a chocolate milkshake at that little milkshake stand around the corner from the hospital. At one of the appointments I remember going into the bathroom with you. You had to pee in a cup and pass it through a little sliding door where lab people worked on the other side. I remember you getting your finger pricked for a blood check. The doctor asked if I wanted to get my finger pricked too, but I chickened out. I remember dad picking us up and thinking that grandmother and granddaddy looked sad but I didn't suspect why.

Reading your blog post did stir some emotion at one point. It was the post where you said I ran into the living room and saw dad crying. I came up to him and said I knew why he was crying. It was because I reminded him of Allison. I told him that he had me and that I was going to take care of him. that triggered something. A memory. An emotion of feeling responsible and wanting to take care of things I wasn't supposed to have taken care of at six years old -- you, dad, the family, the house. It made me think for the first time that maybe you are right. Maybe there is some layer of my overly responsible attitude, my inability to let go and just have fun, the response I have to always see what needs to be taken care of...maybe it is more tied to Allison's death than I realized.

I pondered your post for a few days. I guess it made me a little sad. Then a little angry. I wondered what my personality would be like today if Allison hadn't died and her loss wasn't a part of my early childhood years. I wondered how much of her death formed me into who I am today, especially the part of my overly responsible personality that as an adult has caused me and others so much struggle, misunderstanding and even pain.

I don't feel angry at God or you or dad. I think I just feel sad. It's not all bad. I am a responsible person. That makes me a good employee. I am a successful business owner. I am a hard worker. People learn quickly that I am dependable. I can carry a lot and am quick to do so. I am very perceptive of other's feelings. I know what other people need and give it, often at the cost of my own needs.

As an adult I am serious. I am often uptight and focused. It is hard for me to just let go and have fun. Having fun and laughing doesn't come naturally to me. I have wrestled with that for years. I have even hated it in myself. I have had to learn how to laugh as an adult and it has not been an easy thing for me to learn. I am better, but I am still not as free as I wish I could be.

So perhaps you are right. Perhaps some of that is rooted in Allison's death. I responded to her death by stepping into responsibility mode. It is a mode that as an adult I still function out of a lot of the time.

Jen with her husband, Spirit.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I missed your lovely reflection yesterday, Jenifer. It's wonderful (to me) to be so perceptive about the possible affects your sister's death had on you. And I also believe that your mother is doing such a great thing by including you and your brother in this important part of your lives. Even if memories are faded, to look again seems a good way to say goodbye. Thank you for sharing your own ideas of that time.