There is no chance that this very early morning post won’t be a rambling one because I am too intensely full of IT, whatever IT is — in part to be defined as I think my way in words through the very writing of this post.
Emotion. I guess that’s what I guess about what I am so intensely full of right now.
I just had an image appear I am sure through my very imaginal right brain hemisphere that must nearly crystallize — or sum up — where I am at in this moment of time as I work my way through my life — as it most recently involves this family slide sorting process. Speaking (as I did in a recent post) about the myth of Psyche, whose name originated the field of study called ‘psychology’ — Psyche heals herself and her Eros/passion in the myth — finds and reconnects with herself and her life — through a tedious, careful, studied exercise in sorting seeds. Little tiny seeds.
I never anticipated that I would end up with a series of slide sorting posts — but here I am and here are you, dear readers, caught in mid slide smack in the middle of what on the surface ‘should’ have been a sorting exercise about little pieces of film stuck inside little squares of cardboard.
Nothing less. Nothing more. Seeds of time, of the passage of childhoods, caught inside material, tangible (far more than today’s fleeting digital glimpses of in-the-moment pictures) objects named slides.
Psyche and I. Sorting. Sorting.
Deeply moving, deeply touching, deeply troubling slides of a traumatic childhood for all six of the Lloyd children — but nearly incomprehensibly so for one of those children. Me. The one doing this sorting.
Alive. I am alive. I feel as if I am caught within a vaporous cloud of invisible, unshed but nearly shed tears.
Behind the eyes tears. Tears that once wept would keep on weeping — it seems forever, as if the tears are bottomless and forever tears.
The tears of unloved, rejected, hated, spurned, scorned and terribly terribly hurt little ones.
I having been one of those hated and hurt from the time I was born.
My daughter living 1700 miles away from me will arrive the day after tomorrow with my almost 21-month old grandson (my only grandchild).
Even the most obvious level of this slide sorting is about that greatly anticipated week long visit. The slides cannot remain piled upon this table here ready for little hands to play with.
My daughter’s most recent video of this little boy sent to me is very short — yet the hope of a species lies within its brief synapses of time.
Visiting a city park for a holiday season event. There are two Clydesdale horses pulling a large wagon filled with happy people.
My grandson has books of all kinds read to him for 30 – 45 minutes at bedtime. He has learned the pictures of animals. His mommy teaches him the sounds they make, the sounds of each of their voices.
In this video a perfect little boy, pure and innocent as all little ones are, expresses with his voice his absolute thrill of amazement and comprehension as he repeats “NEIGH” over and over again with inflection, with joy, with amazement as he meets from a visual distance the first horses in their bodies in his lifetime.
There will never be another FIRST moment in his lifetime for meeting horses.
He is thrilled. His family is thrilled WITH him and FOR him. Those who love him not only recognize HIM in his life, but his EXPERIENCE of himself in his life. Surrounded with love, this little boy’s safe and secure attachment to his caregivers and to himself is growing instant by instant into his safe and secure attachment into a VERY big world.
How did I grow into the world never having anyone THRILL for me?
This is not a trite question about a mute point of endeavor.
How did I grow into this world good enough that I could raise a daughter who can now become such an amazingly perfect mother? Not that she or her husband will be able to respond perfectly in every moment of this little one’s childhood — but they have responded perfectly with perfect love that is being passed to their son with every breath (Psyche for ‘breath of life’) they all breath.
I did find I think five slides of pictures of just me in those slides. Visually I ended up with stacks of slides destined for each of my siblings that number in the hundreds that my logical self could not stop from recognizing as tangible ‘proof’ of the place I held in my mother’s abusive, mad universe.
So, back to the beginning of this post when I mentioned an image fed to me this early morning by my very wise right brain hemisphere: I am a prism.
I stand at a point in time processing my life and impacting others — to the positive. If I can only let myself KNOW THIS FACT!
All the moving madness and mayhem in the Lloyd family as those six children grew up. All the witnessing of insane, brutal abuse my siblings did watching what Mother did to me as Father allowed it to happen.
All the visual recording in those slides of Mother’s thrills in five of her children.
The absence of that thrill for me shown in the absence of love to me in these slides.
All in a jumble, these slide piles. My task, my Psyche task, to sort them out — and hopefully with my baby sister’s help (I am 60, she is 56) when she comes to visit me next month, we can put these slides in exact order and title them by time and place so that each sibling has their first organized and ordered visual of their childhood.
As I have told my sister, I cannot do this final stage of this task alone. I have the piles sorted. I can mail them to a person in each of those families just as they are now. That is something, at least, but I know it is not the completion of the task as I would like it to be done.
I wish the slides to be in acid free plastic sheet holders, all labeled, all in order. I wish them to be placed within colorful little pocket folders. I want this job done right.
Because I am the prism.
I am the one in this family through which generations of pain and sickness and hurt — of rage and of resulting evil actions — found their way to be focused on ME — from the time I was born.
All that darkness. All that entangled mess of pictures of pure and innocent children. Me. Take the mess, filter it through the prism of my love, of my good intentions to help healing happen. Run the dark mess through the prism so that something pure and beautiful and good comes out the other side — something — a story in pictures — passed not only to my siblings, but to the generations that are following us.
And the process brings to me deep emotions — mostly great grief as far as I can tell.
Yet I carry the hope of healing as I carry a faith in a God that wants all life to be healthy and happy, that wants a world in order with its priorities straight.
There is a lot of time and labor still required of the main body on the family slides that I am keeping here while those piles of slides dedicated visually to each sibling finds their way down the line of time now into my siblings’ hands.
It is my intention and my hope, if I don’t get sidetracked and stopped by hopelessness and deep grief, to finish this task. I wish to create a book for the family of the Alaskan homesteading era belonging to the Lloyd family tree.
I wish that story to be told somehow truthfully without skipping the part about the severe mental illness (future generations need to know of that risk) and without skipping the part about the unbelievable abuse that ran as a deep undercurrent under everything that ever happened in our family (directly caused by Mother’s mental illness).
But what I have worked so hard to learn in my own healing process as the chosen-for-abuse child is that Alaska offered to my so-sick Mother a chance to experience God’s grace.
It is God’s grace that I see in the homesteading story, a grace that surrounds all life all of the time — but that Mother could not access — except through her connection with that place on the mountain.
Meanwhile, I have ten pictures of Mother in an envelope separated from the rest of all of these slides.
I have not decided what to do with them.
As I have recently written I am deeply involved in a process of staring down the snake-headed, turning-to-stone Medusa Mother of mine.
I can see Medusa when I look at all of these pictures. Medusa took all of them — except the pictures here of HER. What I see when I look at all these slides is what Medusa Mother saw as she snapped her camera’s shutter. Medusa saved these pictures. Medusa is gone. What now of the history belonging to her offspring and to their offspring — and especially what happens to the pictures of HER?
This is important to me. I cannot destroy or glibly let these pictures of Mother leave my possession until I make a very clear decision about their destiny — and about my interaction with their destiny — and my own.
There is a part of me that craves being able to stare Medusa-Mother down as I see her face in these pictures. I had a different mother than my siblings did — beyond measure — different!
What I see when I look at that face in those pictures is what I avoid knowing. There is another level there. Can I let that terrible life-destroying darkness run through the prism of my soul so that what comes out the other side at the end of this process is beautiful light?
I turn to God as the only source of wisdom regarding this task. I know, personally, oh how I KNOW what evil is. The absence of goodness and the light of love inside Mother toward me — as it existed inside herself and projected totally out onto me — caused and continues to cause me enough suffering — and I will NOT pass that darkness forward.
Of all the alchemical processes God can do, turning darkness in human history into pure goodness of love is a miracle without measure. But my experience is that this change does not happen without a whole lot of dedicated work on the side of the humans involved.
That this work HAS to involve emotions, deep and intense emotions, simply shows me that our BODY is fundamentally involved in this work. This is not a ‘brain only’ healing process. To do this work I have to feel, even though I often wish I didn’t.
And then I remember that the absolute JOY I will feel during this upcoming visit from my daughter and grandson would not be possible if my heart wasn’t equally open to sorrow and to the awe of pure love. This is what being wholly human must be all about.