Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another side of Jo-The Lovely Bones

I recently read the novel The Lovely Bones and cried my way through it, so why, oh why did I go to see the movie. Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful. The filming was so original, yet made me feel like I was reliving my teenage glory days in the seventies. The problem with the film, and worse, the book, for me is that they made me relive sad times in my life. The Lovely Bones is about a fouteen-year-old girl who is mudered by a serial killer about the same time she is learning about young romance. She barely misses her first kiss, then meets her end. All that is so sad, but what affected me deeply, especially in the book, was the mother's eventual abandonment of her other children because she couldn't handle the stress of the tragedy.
My mother was a life-long foster child and, according to my dad, married at 17 to escape her sad life. She had 3 children (I was a "honeymoon baby) within the first 5 years of marriage. At that point she decided that she had missed her childhood and left us with our dad to return to her "teenage glory days." Like the mom in The Lovely Bones, she had demons to deal with, and for whatever reasons had to deal with them as a single woman. In those days no one concerned themselves much with how divorce, abandonment, or any upheaval at home, even abuse, affected the child. Not once was I asked if I was dealing well with the loss of my mom. My dad moved us in with our little Italian grandmother (without her permission, she later told me), and not once was I comforted although I cried for my mommy daily for at least a year. I imagine I was considered an annoying crybaby--and that was all. I remained a crybaby (I guess I still am), but after awhile, I grew to hate my absent mother. They deal with that emotion in the book, but not the movie. I don't hate her anymore, but the apathy I feel for her is not healthy either.
So, was the neglect of my young self a good or bad thing? Still, silly
things like fictional movies on the subject of abandonment and rejection can still cut me to the quick. I made the mistake of adopting a six-year-old who was abandoned by a neglectful mother about ten years ago. I realize now that the fatally emotionally wounded is not a good doctor to another with fatal emotional wounds. I have only had self motivational counseling: a strong spiritual belief, a great husband, a best friend, beautiful children who love me, a great career, etc. My adopted child has had over ten years of intense therapy to little avail. Was she hurt worse than I was?
My brother and sister and I have had our share of problems to overcome as a result of my mother's search for a lost childhood, but have become, for the most part, strong adults. On the other hand, a majority of the kids that I meet through involvement in my daughter's therapy,
including my daughter, seem to have a palpable air of damage about them. Although I wish that I had had counseling somewhere along the way-someone that could have told me my feelings of loss and rejection were legitimate, I am also glad that I had to learn self-reliance, gather faith, and build strong relationships with people that actually "HEAR" me and give a dose of sympathy now and then--and then tell me to put on my big girl bloomers and keep on trucking.
Because of what happened to me, I determined when I had children that I would put them before me---even before my own happiness--to give them happiness. This is a very old-fashioned thought, but in doing this I have found happiness beyond my wildest dreams. The love i lavished on my kids because I felt I didn't have it has come back to me a hundred fold.
Ok, I'm better now. Thanks for listening to my rant. I will think twice before going to see another movie I KNOW will bum me out!


  1. Wow-what a powerful story!
    Abandonment wounds like nothing else, doesn't it? I don't think there is any one way to heal such a wound. We just finally pick up and move on (usually out of neccessity.) We keep on keeping on until a movie or book taps on our sore spot, and then we re-feel it all again as if it just happened.

    Sorry to hear your daughter still suffers so. Maybe constant therepy keeps us stuck in the pain cycle. She hasn't been forced to move on yet.

    Thanks for sharing - such a touching post!

  2. I can so relate to the abandonement issue. I didn't realize I was having issues until this last October... Yep Still there and I still deal with it. However, God has certainly helped me heal this year. I think I am coming along slowly but surely.

    Here is another good book for you, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. It is fantastic!

  3. Thank you both, Shannon and Stacey for your insightful comments. Some wounds never heal, they just scar over and scars can strenghthen the tender area. Love Jo