Yet Sophie still hurts
|There lies no blame
Eve didn't remember her mom, and only vaguely remembered her dad. They had died, respectively, when the little girl was two years old and six years old. Her older sister Priscilla, twelve years her senior, tried to be both mother and father to little Eve, but had to send her to a boarding school, as Priscilla worked during the day and also at night, to make a living for the two of them. Sometimes Eve remained at the boarding school during holiday breaks. There was not enough money for train fare.
The little girl became accustomed to the strict, Victorian, manner of her teachers. She tried her best please them with impeccable behavior and good marks. Eve needed their approval.
Soon after she left school she married a good man. The young couple had two children - a boy, Michael, and a girl, Sophie.
But all was not normal in these children's life. While their dad worked long hours out of town their mom rarely showed her offspring any affection. She would see them off to school in the morning but there were no encouraging words, let alone a hug and a goodbye kiss. The kids lacked warmth and acceptance. Eve was, however, very concerned that Michael and Sophie's teachers should be impressed by her children and that they should do her proud. The kids were linked to her sense of status; Eve was reliant on them to boost her own self-esteem. She demonstrated her approved to Michael and Sophie only when they excelled at something she approved of.
Michael grew to have no respect for his mother, and left home as soon as he could. Sophie still had three more years of schooling. Then at the age of seventeen she left home, never to live there again.
Many of Sophie's choices brought only disdain from her mother. Now a young woman, Sophie began to hate her mother, and the bad relationship between them continued until her mother's death at the age of eighty-two.
Sophie was with her mother when she died, but as much as she knew that the old woman would love to hear the words, she just could not tell her mom that she loved her. She shed no tears at the funeral, and soon after had nightmares in which she feared either that her mom had come to life again, or that she hadn't yet died.
Now Sophie is approaching the final decades of her own life, and is still trying to come to terms with the emotional harm she carries with her:
"My mother was orphaned at the age of six. Her life was sad and empty. If she was not a good parent to Michael and me it was because she had nobody to emulate. What mother learned from her teachers during her long and lonely years at boarding school was that youngsters should be obedient and a credit to their school. That was all she knew. No blame can be laid at her door. She did not choose to be an orphan."
Yet Sophie still hurts.