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You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?

There are holes in my memory, information hidden deeply in files in my brain that I would like to access. The truth serum would be for me, and it would take some weeks of thinking of questions I’d like to ask my inner self.

It always bugs me when one of my grown kids asks me — “Do you remember … “, and I don’t. It’s often something that made enough of an impression on them to be vivid in their memories, so why not mine? I’m imagine the information is there somewhere.

My dad died when I was fourteen, and I really only have impressions of him — very few concrete memories or days I can recall with any clarity. Those recollections should have been saved because I was old enough to remember them. My general feeling is that he was a nice man, kind enough to me and my sister, intelligent (he knew lots about lots), but a workaholic not happily married. I have more memories of playing with my best friend Susan than I do of him, and those encompass the same time frame.

I have many questions about my mother: I spent much more time with her, and essentially she wanted to be friends with her children rather than do the tough job of parenting. There was something missing in her — a desire for self-reliance and independence, an ability to take responsibility for her actions, a resilience that enables one to “step up to the plate” when your name is called. I don’t think she really wanted the responsibility and work of being a parent — nor, possibly the responsibility of being a spouse. Basically, she wanted others to take care of her. I’d like to know if there were clues in her behavior in my earlier years that might help me understand her.

I was very close to my grandparents, and I have more memories of them than of my parents. That’s kind of sad, except that they were good memories. The fact that my parents fought verbally so often made the calm, ordered atmosphere of my grandparents’ home appealing. It also has meant that I avoid arguing and confrontation.

So, after I felt I’d compiled a list of questions that would fill in some significant blanks for me, and found someone non-judgmental I trust to ask them (perhaps my sister), I’d be happy to use a truth serum and find some lost answers.

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