Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Possibility of Everything

I cannot wait to read this book. It reminds me, a bit, of "The Horse Boy," another story of a family who travels far to find shamans to help with their child. Loved that book.

Besides, I love reading books written by people I know or have at least met.

I found an old blog I wrote about the author of "The Possibility of Everything," Hope Edelman.

Nah - it is mostly about me because that's how I roll. But I did mention her.

I met Hope in 2002, after she posted a request for people to interview on a Motherloss forum. Here is what I wrote in 2004, looking back on our meeting:

Two years (or a lifetime) of waiting is over

It comes out today - Hope Edelman's new book, "Motherless Mothers." I was one of the women Hope interviewed for research. I actually called Barnes & Noble and they have one copy - they're holding it for me.

Two years ago, I was so excited to meet Hope. Her book, "Motherless Daughters" was a godsend for me...another motherless daughter, Lisa, gave it to me as a gift. We stick together, those of us who lost our mothers when we were young. We comprise a family of women with no anchor, no guidepost, no idea of how to become a women... My mother will always be perfect, because she died before she I could realize she wasn’t. I live up to the memory of a women I can never be, because she never was.

Anyway, I prepared carefully for my meeting with Hope - I left early from home, armed with a full tank of gas, two maps, phone numbers...I am a planner. What I didn't plan for - the impact of talking about being a mother without the slightest idea of how to do it right. What I didn't plan for - the impact of talking about things that no one else but a motherless daughter would understand. And I never planned to have my emotions laid bare in the dining room at the Claremont Hotel.

It was a beautiful day in the Oakland Hills. The restaurant was lovely - white, starched linen, and white, starched diners and employees, in stark contrast to the streets I drove through to get there. I remember the soup – Navy Bean, and the iced tea. I remember watching the sweat form on the glass, because I knew that if I looked away, if I looked at Hope, I would start to cry. Eventually I did. I sat in the beautiful restaurant, sobbing like the child I felt like I was. We talked about everything – my mother’s death, my belief that it was my fault, marrying late, adopting children – losing a child. My loss was fresh, and I had been so philosophical about it up until that day. My mother-in-law – how different she was from my mother, and how I wanted to be close to her, but always felt awkward calling her “mom” like she asked.

On that sunny afternoon, I was a married woman with a two-year-old son, a husband who loved me, and had just been through a failed adoption – the little girl we had dreamed of, who looked just like my husband, and only had for six months. My life revolved around my family – I stayed home full-time, except for some volunteer work, with Jacob always along. Today I sit in my office overlooking the river, a full-time working, single mother of two absolutely amazing children. I live every day wondering if I’ll live to teach my daughter how to become a woman – after all, my mother died when I (her youngest child) was 10, and she lost her mother when she was 15 (but her youngest child was 10). I don’t even know if any of my story made it into her book – except that all our stories have a single thread. Only the top thread, no bobbin thread to hold it in place or keep it from unraveling.

Well, I am in the book. Right there on page...oh, no - I won't tell you. Read the book. You'll know it's me, I'm sure of it, even though she changed everyone's names to protect the innocent. Or idiotic, as she must have thought I was, having a breakdown in the middle of the Claremont.


Anonymous said...

Annie, what a great post! Now I will get the book for my girlfriend, even though we are not mothers. I think maybe she will get some insight into why she never wanted children. Thanks very much for the reminder of how lonely it was to grow up without a mother. Lisa grew up with her mother absent as an alcoholic, then she got sober when Lisa was 10 or 11. But, she died when Lisa was 18, so she got a few good years with her mom, which is more than some daughters get, as you know. I like that you recognize your mother will always be perfect. Even though my own mother was not perfect (far from it) now that she is gone (she died in 06) I only remember the good things . . . which is a blessing.

Hope Edelman said...

Hi Annie,
It's so nice to read this, and to know you're doing well. What a beautiful blog! I remember our meeting nearly ten years ago, and how inspiring your story was. I was just up in Oakland recently--in the Rockridge neighborhood, I think it was called?--and fell in love with the area all over again.
Best wishes for a beautiful autumn,