‘Why we try’ | on symbols and habits

Currier & Ives symbolic print "Friendship, Love, and Truth". Includes symbolic Eye of Providence, handshake, beehive of industriousness, sticks which can be easily broken individually but not when tied together in a bundle, etc.

Currier & Ives symbolic print “Friendship, Love, and Truth.” Includes symbolic Eye of Providence,ย and other iconic symbols.

The way the sun came through the windows made it look like lattice, the shadows of the tree branches on the window sills. I thought about dropping mom at the airport, but really thought about it because I’d thought about drinking, how the sun came through the window in a kind of celebratory way, I’d kicked a habit for a month when last I saw her, and now that the month was up I could start again.

Mom and I got good at our goodbyes, good that we didn’t draw them out or make them harder than necessary. After dropping her off I changed the CD and went north to my job; it was good to have a place to go and distract myself. And as I drove I thought about what classic goodbyes I could remember, there were only a few, and really, who wants to remember them?

You really can tell the difference with the light by the time you get to the end of January, it’s all about the fade. And maybe that’s what we react to most in the Pacific Northwest, is how fast it comes in November, how we forget the urgency and desperation of it like we’re suffering through the same recurring pain every year in a Greek myth kind of way.

Mom and I got good with the goodbyes because we acted like everything was normal and didn’t make a fuss. I dropped her at the curb, we hugged and waved, both of us looking back once, after I pulled away.

Of all the goodbyes I can remember there was one with her in Pennsylvania when John was still alive, when she really broke down. And I wondered, thinking back, if the goodbye was triggered by something else, some different thing that hadn’t found a place to express itself yet. And how symbols surround us in the smallest ways, why they curl up inside our actions and patterns, the habits that bring us comfort, the thought there’s at least one thing in this life we can predict or control. And even though we can’t, why we try.

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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34 Responses to ‘Why we try’ | on symbols and habits

  1. byebyebeer says:

    You hit on something I wonder about a lot, that recurring suffering we experience in some pattern we can’t always see or ever control. Goodbyes from a parent’s perspective must be extra hard. Maybe easier with practice. Where does that emotion go if we don’t feel it then? I was reading this really sad part of a book while waiting for my kid at the Y and fought back sadness and tears because it wasn’t exactly the place to sob openly. It didn’t feel right, I thought I’m bottling this up but I should let it be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Those feelings and memories supposedly live inside us. I have experienced and seen some of that ‘release’ in yoga studios, pent-up stuff coming out. It’s weird to think! I’m not looking forward to the goodbyes from a parent’s perspective.

      Like

    • Being a parent has made everything infinitely harder, especially watching movies where bad stuff happens to kids… we torture ourselves by imagining it and I can’t tell if we make believe that it’s involuntary or if we do it to ourselves on purpose. I re-imagine the goodbyes from my parents and I’m sure it was hard as hell to keep the floodgates shut tight. Why don’t we release? A lot of stuff that is socially unacceptable, like discussing the elephant in the room, for example, doesn’t make sense to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pinklightsabre says:

        I was thinking about the elephant in the room metaphor or parable last night, that’s funny. Yes, things harder in one way, but more fulfilling don’t you think? I hope? Soon enough, hang tight with Garrett. Save the receipt, ha.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Infinitely more fulfilling and I hope I never sound unhappy with my son, though I do refer to him as “little monster” and “big stink” AKA “Big Stinky,” AKA “The Notorious Sti-In-Kee”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • byebyebeer says:

        That’s it exactly. My youngest always looks over at me to see if I’m crying during a sad part of a movie. If I am (because yeah, being a parent or getting older makes the hard stuff feel more possible) I make a joke of it and hold back. And I’m teaching her to do the same…something I will think about.

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      • Wasn’t at all trying to tell you that you are doing wrong. I’m sure that I’d do the same… I even try not to cry in front of him now and he isn’t two years old. It was more of like a question for the entirety of the race. I appreciate your feedback. Bummer to know that that part won’t ever really get better, but at least I have the infinite love of a parent for their child. Health and happiness to you and yours.

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      • byebyebeer says:

        Your comment made me question and wonder and I love when that happens. Parenting gets better by the year, I find. Maybe more comfortable, or like a better fit or connection. Cheers.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I know what you mean. There’s a thing when you get to a certain age, which I’ve passed already, where you go, “I wonder if that was just the last one.” Goodbye, that is. I have a few last ones I’d like to have another crack at.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      It’s good to wonder. And wander, for sure. And celebrate! Hey, it’s February! Here’s lookin’ at you, punk. Bill

      Like

    • edbrummel says:

      Oy, Kevin Brennan, do I know too well about, “I’d like to have another crack”!
      I can’t remember my last conversation with my dad, never mind how it was brought to a close. Did it end on a positive note? I’m pretty sure it did, but not totally certain. It’d be nice to have another stab, so I could actually pay attention, actually know.

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      • pinklightsabre says:

        That’s the story of our lives I think, the immediacy of things, the fact we don’t get another crack, or rarely. And if we do, it’s unnatural and maybe not right. Ah, I’m being gloomy. Snow’s falling here and I just warmed the hot tub. What the hell do I care.

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      • So true, Ed. My Mom’s 81 now, so I’m always careful to make the goodbyes feel right. Life!

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  3. 1WriteWay says:

    My mom is 93 and it’s only been in the last few years that there’s been real affection between us. Now at the end of every phone call, we say “I love you.” That’s fairly recent. My husband says her face lights up when she sees me now; a few years ago, it would dim. And since she’s 93, every time I see her, talk to her, I wonder if it will be the last time. A few years ago, I was okay with that. Not any more.

    Like

  4. rossmurray1 says:

    Now you’ve got me thinking about goodbyes I remember. It’s a whole different category of nostalgia. Like you say, there isn’t much good in goodbye.
    I think about my first serious girlfriend. She dumped me, we got back together briefly about a year later, then I dumped her, possibly out of spite. What an ass. She was such a lovely girl. The last time I saw her was in the university dining hall, I think at some kind of dance. She was leaning against the railing in the mezzanine above, and we looked at each other, sad and regretful. And that was it. That was our goodbye. I’ve never seen or heard from her again.

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Well I can see you and her at the mezzanine. I know that exchange (happened to me with a girl in a sound booth looking down at me on the stage). Though she had a Glen Close quality, the way the light from the control board shone under her, kind of eerie and ominous.
      Kind of got aroused just now, in the beer aisle, at the store. Had to tell someone and you were it. Goodbye!

      Like

  5. alesiablogs says:

    Goodbyes. Ugh… yeah. I haven’t lived near my mom in almost 30 years. Sad for me, but I will not leave Seattle crazy Alabama !! Haha

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Tough choice…Seattle…Alabama…I guess the latter has more syllables, ends and starts in an “A,” there’s that! And no worries about any pinko liberals I guess! Ha! Drink up! Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ksbeth says:

    habits do offer a certain measure of comfort, even if they are bad ones –

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    • pinklightsabre says:

      True. ’nuff said. Could say more, but you know: there’s always tomorrow right?! Only 50 million more posts to go until I reach my limit.

      Like

  7. Lynn Love says:

    Goodbyes are awful. I hate seeing people off at train stations, try to avoid it – all that hanging about, waiting for the train to go, exchanging awkward looks through the window, waving and waving again and one last one as the train pulls away.
    I love you ‘getting good at goodbyes’. I think I’m getting worse, definitely with my mum. She was never very affectionate when I was young, now she hugs fiercely when I see her. She never said ‘I love you,’ now she does. Now she calls me ‘darling girl’ which makes me want to cry, every time – to be her ‘darling girl’ when I’m staring at 50! Perhaps it’s because she’s in her 70s now and I’ve finally realised she won’t be in my life forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      It’s funny all these similarities, really. This is the social media part I really like and didn’t expect, realizing how similar we are in meaningful ways. (That doesn’t sound right but here I go trying to communicate first thing, without caffeine!) thanks for reading and sharing Lynn. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  8. edbrummel says:

    So little (or is it, nothing?) in our lives is in our control; yet carry on as if all of it is.

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    • pinklightsabre says:

      Control is just one of those most interesting fallacies, at the root of so much. So many layers to that I think. Thanks for dipping in with me on that Eduardo! — Bill

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  9. Some children never move away take my sister for example she got married and moved out a few streets down. Those few streets down cant seem to keep her apart she pops in just about everyday. Having said that I do feel that some of us are just not meant to move out nor cut that umbilical cord.

    Like

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