May 16 2010

Half Orphan

Published by at 1:11 am under An Ongoing Conversation . . .

In the Preface to my book DARKNESS OVERTURNED, I explain my pen name.

There are several reasons why I chose for myself the name EsthersChild. The Esther of biblical antiquity had neither father nor mother ?and in a real sense, neither have I . . .

One of the reasons I did NOT give was that I was in fact Esther’s child –that being my mother’s name. Also, at the time  I wrote the book two things were very much in play. First of all, my father was deceased but my mother was not. Nevertheless, though alive, my mother remained emotionally inaccessible to me as she had throughout my childhood.

Secondly, my fear of her reading my book was enormous. The few phone calls we managed already quickly spun off into recitations of the hurt and anger she felt about life. Then came the blaming and bitterness followed by how she simply relegated people to nothingness –as if they never were, she’d say. I knew she would consider my book a betrayal. The slimmest of relationships with the woman who was my mother was better than my being nonexistent.

Looking back on the intensely religious context in which I wrote my book and lived my life then, I understand that this is how I filled in the blanks caused by being half orphan. When my mother died several years ago, I spontaneously wrote a poem called PICES, which was her star sign –two fish going in opposite directions– as well as how I felt she had lived –conflicted, confused, not knowing which way to swim.

As I wrote the poem, I had the sensation that it was really two poems entwined. Reading it out loud I found myself whispering each second line and ended up putting them in italics as it was indeed two, intertwined elegies: one for my mother and one for me. Her grief had been my tomb.

In the poem I write, Sweet Jubilee has burst the grave . . . for in her death we both are freed. It’s not that I rejoiced in my mother’s passing. Jubilee is a fiftieth year and I turned 50 fifteen days after my mother died. I was not lost, just shut away.

Art Piece in CiCi's Garden

I believe that every woman contains an enduring spark of the wisdom at the heart of all creation. Even when she is isolated and unsupported –as I was for so many years– her spark remains relentless. Also, I know that when united with other women as I am so fortunate to be now, her ember bursts into a vibrant flame of illumination and strength.

That is why I created this Blog –in the hope that it will provide A Safe Place For Women to explore how to work through the residual effects often experienced as a result of being a survivor of child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or any other trauma or loss.

For those of you who would like to read my poem, PICES, you will find it under PAGES on the right.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Half Orphan”

  1. Beverleyon 07 Jun 2010 at 2:04 pm

    You hit home on so many levels. PICES is a powerful poem. The things you express are so powerful. As you say in your mantra; you are powerful! I have a hard time looking at myself as a powerful or strong person. But I KNOW I am strong! I wouldn’t have survived all that I’ve survived if I wasn’t a strong person.

    As I jump around, reading your blogs, I just have to say, Thank You. Thank you for providing a garden of safety and peace for women – a place of refuge. My spirit needs a place a of refuge. My mind and my heart need a place of refuge. An internal place of refuge. Thank you…

  2. Patriciaon 09 Jun 2010 at 12:52 am

    I’m so glad you found CiCi’s Garden, Beverley!
    I hope you will visit often and invite others to join us. Women can bring tremendous strength and comfort to each other, as well as fresh insight and perspective. One of my dearest friends is 90 years old. We’ve had a breakfast date on the first Saturday of each month for 10 years. When we are together, Liz and I laugh a lot and talk easily about anything, sharing our mutual affection and support for each other. Moreover, without trying she MENDS me. Then there is a group of four of us women around the same age who have been meeting together for seven years. We’ve seen each other through career changes, emotional stress, triumphs and debilitating illness. They ENRICH and EXPAND me, challenging me to continue to think new thoughts and not get stuck in any one point of view however familiar or comfortable it might be.
    My wish for you, Beverley, is that you will find your visits to CiCi’s Garden comforting, challenging and a catalyst to believe more fully in yourself.

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