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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Friends, Family.....Forever?

I am a hopeless romantic and a kid at heart. I want life to be fair and for love to last forever! I am not ashamed to admit it and I think I will never change no matter how old I get. I think everyone deserves to be happy and I think everyone should be treated well and that we should all try to help people and people who don't  treat others well should get their just dues.

I often wonder what makes something, a relationship, last forever? We often think of expressions like "blood is thicker than water" but then I know that sometimes people sever ties with their blood relatives and form lasting relationships with friends that are stronger than the ones with family. Sometimes friends are fickle and only transient and other times a long standing friendship can no longer survive over what seems trivial.

As I said,  I am a hopeless romantic. I always have been from an early age and will die a hopeless romantic. I believe in fighting for the things you believe in and standing by people's in the toughest of times. I believe that living in hardship is better than living a superficial and shallow life that is based on dishonesty. I believe in giving everything for the people you love, sacrificing and putting yourself out. I believe in true love and soul mates and that sometimes it takes a lifetime to find that person and you may have a short time together but that is ultimately better than never having found them at all. I know we do not and can not live forever and that everything must one day end, but I still believe in that romantic notion of forever.

I look back at various relationships in my life and some have lasted and some have not. Usually the first relationship we ever have is the one we share with our mother. As an infant it is more often than not the mother who spends nearly all of her time with the baby, caring for them, holding them, talking to them, feeding them etc. I adored my mother and was fortunate to have a really good relationship with her. When I would dream of my future, my mother was always in the dream somewhere. Those dreams, like many, were never realised due to her premature death just after she had her 52nd birthday. She was gone, out of my life and no longer a part of my future; however, she is in my life forever.

The relationship I had with my father and sister was not quite the same and I would say that we went through some turbulent times. My sister and I were like most siblings who had their moments of cruelty and arguments, some of which turned physical. We also had times when we were friends and played together or hung out together. Unfortunately around the time that my mother's cancer was diagnosed the relationship between my mother and sister was not on very good terms largely because of the relationship my sister was in at the time. The strain was eventually felt within my relationship with my sister and eventually about a year or so after my mother passed I felt it necessary to stop having contact with her, but it did not last more than a year or two. Today we are such good and close sisters and though we hardly see each other due to the great geographical distance between us, we chat nearly every day on line and when those wonderful occasions happens that we are together we can talk endlessly and laugh randomly and infectiously like children!


My father and I had more issues and we also severed our relationship and did not see each other or speak to each for about 7 years. Within that time was also the time that I decided to leave everything; my friends, sister, my belongings, my memories and my familiarity, to start something new somewhere else. My father also started a new life with a woman only a couple of years older than me. After my new life in London with a husband and a two year old child I decided to go back to L.A. for a visit but had no intentions of seeing my father, to me that relationship was damaged forever and it was gone forever. Upon my arrival at L.A.X with my very sleepy 2 year old snoozing in my arms I was greeting by my sister and her husband, a very good friend and unbeknownst to me, my father and my half sister who I had never met and was now was around 7 years old, were also waiting there for me at the airport. Years had passed, wounds had nearly healed and I was a mother now which all made my reaction to seeing my father there much more pleasant than I would have thought possible. When I was returning home from that visit and everyone said their goodbyes at the airport, my father whispered in my ear, "I'm sorry".  We started a fresh start and in the next 10-12 years we grew closer and closer until he came to stay with me and his three grandchildren when he died here only a month later. That was about 6 years ago now. Grandpa had became a part of our lives and I will remember him forever, in fact everything before that reunion and his new role as a grandfather are not as important as all the memories I have of him later in life. So with my father I experienced a time when I thought forever meant never having him in my life, to forever remembering those fond memories of him with my children and times spent together.

My friendship and other family relationships have been all over the show. Some relatives get weird as they age and think of who is there for them in terms of physical presence and practical help. They start to think of who will inherit and who will not. Sometimes relationships have been frayed because of the lack of honesty or commitment. Sometimes money interferes and damages  trust. Sometimes broken promises are too many and too often to withstand the test of time. Some people have showed that they are ultimately selfish and care more about themselves or being treated as the centre of attention to have the capacity to stay around "forever". Other friends and family understand that shit happens and life gets in the way and distance occurs but that the bond can not be lessened and time may pass and difficulties experienced but the relationship survives.

During my controlling marriage in a new country I did not have many opportunities to make friends and build relationships. In fact the couple of times that I did, there was fault found in them by my husband and he would never give me the freedom to have my own social life. As we already had a small child when we were married and no one to provide any childcare, if he went out then I obviously could not. It took me a very long time after we split up to build relationships and though I thought I had a few acquaintances that could grow into true friendships, these all these proved to be superficial and transient.

Even though the last 5 years have seen more social activity in my life, the strain of having all the problems with my son's serious drug/law/behaviour issues as well has financial strain and how this has all impeded on my daughter's lives has created a somewhat less than social butterfly mentality within me. A few friends have found it hard to understand and eventually there are more and more plans cancelled, lack of interest in making plans or sensitive feelings which makes me wonder how long they will last, since one or two friendships in the past year or two have ended completely.

I accept that feelings change and people do sometimes change as well, and that sometimes relationships do not last or their purpose is transitional. I have many good memories of people who have come and gone for a purpose or when one of us had to move on. I guess what I get annoyed about is that when people are less than honest about feelings or their current position or circumstances and then that creates so much fuss that did not need to happen. Sometimes we meet people who inevitably are false and though sometimes that can be obvious, other times it is not and when we learn the truth it hits us quite hard.

My children have been hurt by each other and by family and friends. They have learned already that many relationships do not hold up under pressure. I can not predict whether the relationships between each of them will stand the test of time and if they will hold on to their love one day or forever, but I do hope that the pain they have felt will most definitely not last forever.

I may not have a large circle of family and friends, but some of the ones who are, actually most of the ones who are in that circle, I know that I will indeed love them forever. The one most definite thing in my life that will last forever in my life is me. I have to feel good about how I live and what I can do for my family and friends and others. I will remain my children's mother forever and one thing, no matter what, I can say with my head held up high that I am a good mother and I have absolutely no doubt that ALL of my children love me very much and if they hold on to my love and remember that even when I am gone, than I know I did something good that indeed will last forever.

So, as it is Mother's Day tomorrow here in the UK, I wish you all a Happy Mother's Day whether it will be tomorrow or next month! Take pride in knowing how much you are loved and that a mother's love is indeed forever!