Monday 24 October 2022

Remembering my stepmother

 A propinquity nativity

It is a case of interesting provenance for another word cannot be found to describe the fact that my stepmother was only 14 months older than I am. Sadly, today, one speaks in the past tense because today would have been her birthday and she passed on, 4 days after her birthday 2 years ago.

On reflection, I consider the perspectives of relationships and the understanding of what goes on between different people. For there are viewpoints of who she was that my half-brothers whose ages would have been representative of my sons have, and that of who the larger parts of the family have as concerns her.

Deference of association

In my case, I find myself more of a neutral party as I never met her, I only knew of her, and we were introduced over the phone by my father long into their relationship. I immediately adopted a respectful deportment to my father’s wife and accorded her all that it necessitates.

Our interactions over the years that we communicated were cordial and friendly, each deferential to the other even as I fielded concerns and complaints whilst trying to mitigate and ameliorate issues as that relationship became estranged.

In my view, I thought there were situations where my father could have been more gentlemanly, yet I was never conversant with the intricacies of their affair. The history and reports relayed to me would suggest it was a stormy and sometimes unhappy marriage, but I was too distant from the setup to give it any assessment.

In resignation to fate

Therefore, regardless of what others thought of her, I could not fault her even if she had many faults, what I remember was trying to call her on her last birthday and we eventually talked. The call that received on that fateful Wednesday morning from my brother, left me in shock, I was coming to the end of my walking exercise, and I literally collapsed on a bench for a while to get my bearings.

Conversing with my brothers, we worked at facilitating her obsequies as I thought about how our then-recent engagements might have unwittingly been loaded with some premonition; certain critical responsibilities would come my way just as a matter of course and in recognition of the limits to which other parental obligations can be met.

The sadness is palpable in remembrance, more so for my brothers who would surely miss her and her presence for significant life occasions. Life is fleeting, how we leave legacy matters, and for those we have met, we hope we have contributed something significant and positive for them to remember. To my stepmother, rest eternal and may your shortcomings be forgiven.

Blog - A chapter closed suddenly

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