Not Too Late

I pray that it's not too late. I pray that there will come a day - sooner rather than later - when I can be there for my mother and be the daughter I was meant to be. Yes, of course, there were good days when I was still living at home. There are all sorts of memories and one can't throw out all the good with all the bad. I think that one is supposed to keep all the memories, even the ones that make us cringe. And I most certainly have much to cringe about.

There is a regret deep inside that I do not wish to repeat. Isn't one regret enough, Father?

We all make our own choices, I realise that, and we have to live with those choices. But sometimes plans can be changed or we can choose a different way of life.

It is not because I am special. It is not because I deserve a second chance. I am deserving of nothing. And I know there are people from all walks of life who carry their regrets with them to their graves. And I know that I can't turn back time and do it differently.

There is a void that can never be filled. Surely it can heal, little by little. I turned my back on my father. I did. I know I did. It only sounds dramatic but it wasn't, really. If I couldn't feel safe with my own father, where else could I go? Even if nothing would have happened, how was I to know that? The seeds of doubt had already been planted. The teenage years can be the hardest but so can the later years when one has matured enough to realise one's past mistakes and wished that one's life could be lived differently.

I will never know what it would have, or could have, been like if my father hadn't molested me. I will never know the other woman - the one that I would have become - if the molestation had not happened. Who would she have been? Would she be quite different or almost the same? And I will never know for sure the sort of relationship I would have had with him as a teenager if all had been well from the very beginning. I don't pretend to understand everything or even to understand anything, at this point. But I know that I wished things had been different. Different. And I have to let go of that too, don't I?

And my mother is my mother. I should be taking care of her and not wait until she's stricken with an illness or on her death bed for me to rush to her side. That would be too late.

We had good times, my mother and I. No doubt there were also times when I felt criticised when I was younger. And it hurt. It hurt to the core. And I carried them over with me to adulthood, unsure of myself, even going so far as feeling sorry for myself during the doom and gloom days of my young adult life.

But the older I get, the more I understand my mother. Or I think that I do. Or I try to. And I am reminded that she was always there for me. Always. It seems there are all these little rooms in my mind that I can peek into every once in a while. And they help me remember. Or they don't let me forget.

I don't know what I would do if it was too late. I am such a stupid, stupid fool. My actions are my own and no one else's. I want her to enjoy life even more. I want me to enjoy life even more. And - dare I say this? - I want the two of us to enjoy life together.

Am I thinking of her or thinking of me? Would this be for her benefit or for mine?

She's prayed for me. She's prayed over me. She carried me for nine months in her womb before I was born. You gave me to her. Don't take her from me.

A rush of emotions doesn't necessarily mean one has a clear head to make sense of all those emotions. I am not seventeen anymore and I will never be seventeen again. I had my reasons for doing what I did. And I won't pretend to remember what it was really like at that age. There are glimpses. I can see them even now ... flashes of images ... but that is all.

I want to tell myself that it is not too late. I even want to take away her pain, if I can. I couldn't take away my father's pain. I couldn't help him in any way. I just remember holding his hand. His pain was too much to bear and neither I nor my mother could take it away. I was seventeen and uncertain, merely following orders. And his hand squeezed mine. I guess, in some strange, maybe even morbid, way, I am thankful that I could be there for my father. My mother was there with me. We were both there with my father. The three of us. I remember that. And the door to that memory can never be closed.

It's a cold, dark place but I sometimes wonder if You are here in the void with me. Will You be with me?

And still I tell myself: It is not too late.