Perrie Halpern

In the living years

By:  Perrie Halpern R.A.  •   •  7 years ago  •  8 comments

In the living years

Crumpled bits of paper

Filled with imperfect thought

Stilted conversations

I'm afraid that's all we've got

You say you just don't see it

He says it's perfect sense

You just can't get agreement

In this present tense

We all talk a different language

Talking in defense

My childhood friend and stylist to the stars, Phillip Bloch, wrote an article to his deceased father on the first Father's Day that he had without him. Like many of us, he had had his differences with his dad. He talked of words now exchanged, that can no longer be taken back. The issues that seemed so important to him in life, no longer seemed as important to him now that his dad passed. As I read the article I cried. I cried because I knew his dad and had always had a warm relationship with him. I cried; for my friend, who was now regretting moments he could no longer fix. I cried because like my friend Phillip, I too, have had rough patches with my own mother and wondering it there is any possibility to fix them. There have been so many years of damage. Sometimes, because of situations and family dynamics you just can't find agreement, in the present tense ; a parents expectation of a child sharing their beliefs and values, only to find disappointment when they don't ; A child's frustration, in trying to get the parent to understand these differences, feeling a disconnect when their parents can't seem to bend.

This pattern of behavior has been going on since the beginning of time. It is not exclusive to parent and child relationships. It is played out in marriages, friendships and where ever there are human relationships, and it's this pattern that is the hardest to break. But why?

So we open up a quarrel

Between the present and the past 102_blogs.jpg

We only sacrifice the future

It's the bitterness that lasts

So Don't yield to the fortunes

You sometimes see as fate

It may have a new perspective

On a different day

And if you don't give up, and don't give in

You may just be O.K.

We all live within the confines and definitions of our relationships and as life proceeds, we encounter a series of situations and issues. The situations are not always avoidable. Birth order, loss of a job, a home, a spouse, a family, a child, death, these are just examples of the situations we can't control. How we deal with them, may or may not lead to misunderstandings. But it is not these that usually bring about a deep divide, although they can. It is usually specific issues that enter a relationship that we become reactionary to. And more often than not, these issues arise and arise again, and with each time, old wounds are opened and scares deepened, with the ending result being that both parties become more resolved in the idea that there can never be compromise. Somewhere in relationships, the mix of emotions become fused with the issue, instead of logic and emotion is the over riding propellant, leading us further and further apart. Compound these feelings with human pride, and you have a toxic combination for permanent barriers. Yet, this is not what most of us seek. We would like resolution, it just that we want it on our own terms. Oddly, it's when we don't give in and we don't give up, that we find is shocking that nothing is OK. We have only deepened the divide between those that we care for. All we have is the cold comfort of feeling right. And although, we may, indeed, be right, does that actually make us feel better? In many cases the answer is no. And although compromise may be a possibility, often, issues are seen in black and white. So the question then becomes, which is more important to us? To be right, but loose the relationship or the connection to that individual, or to look away, or compromise and keep the relationship?

Say it loud, say it clear

You can listen as well as you hear

It's too late when we die

To admit we don't see eye to eye

Death is so final. For my friend, death left him no chance to set things straight with his father. But for many of us, this is not the case. There is a chance to put aside the anger and hurt. There is a chance to gain understanding. Most of us can hear, but choose not to listen when the other side is speaking. And the times when it would be better for our relationships not to listen, but put aside the other persons pattern of behavior, to not hear those words that hurt, and try to get past them, that we most often hear those words, and so the cycle continues. We all have a chance, to change these things, if we get passed our pride, our hurt and anger, to admit that we don't see eye to eye and move on, but more often than not we don't. Maybe we would, if we just realized that we can only do this in the living years.


jrBlog - desc
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
link   author  Perrie Halpern R.A.    7 years ago

We get to know ourselves by knowing each other.

This is very true. Only when we give ourselves to others, have our relationships tested and see how we respond, take a chance and care or decide to turn ourselves off, do we get a real measure of who we are. And to do that.. we need the interactions of those around us.

I love people. I love to watch them and engage... (yeah, no one saw that coming, LOL). But for the most part, I can find something positive in almost anyone.

Professor Principal
link   Kavika     7 years ago

Knowing yourself is the key. The dynamics of relationships are fraught with danger. Step into the danger.

Sophomore Participates
link   Dowser    7 years ago

This has been sitting here, and I've read it several times, but couldn't respond. Still can't, that much. The memories and feelings are too raw to adequately express what I'm feeling, if I even knew what I was feeling.

My last words to my mother were that I loved her. She didn't respond. The day before, I had told her I loved her and her response was a sarcastic, "That's nice."

I did everything I could do for her. I did what was best for her, with no thought to what it was doing to me, or to my family. I met the promises I made long ago to my grandparents and my father, that I would care for her to the best of my ability. There are times when the best you can do is good enough-- even when it's not good enough by someone you love. When the chips were down, I came through and was there.

I am grieving for the mother that never was, as well as for the mother that was. When she died, I truly wondered if she had ever, in her life, loved me. The answer: she loved me as much as she was able. Even if, it wasn't enough for me, she did the best she could, too. That has to be enough for me.

Grief is a funny thing. Somehow we have to work through it, and reach forgiveness-- not only of the person who died and left a legacy of negative feelings, but of ourselves, for our responses to those feelings. One thing for sure-- when a person dies, all the reasons behind all that stuff doesn't matter any more. I believe in heaven, (and no, I don't want to get into a philosophical discussion), and that means that we're at peace. (Hell, I'm not so sure of... Maybe a special place reserved for the Himmlers of the world...) But, all the emotions, disappointments, etc., that drove my mother to be mean to me, aren't there any more.

Perhaps in time, I can feel the love that she did feel for me, since all the reasons for her dislike of me are gone. Until then, all any of us can do, is just the best we can...

Petey Coober
Freshman Silent
link   Petey Coober    7 years ago

What no mood music ?

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
link   author  Perrie Halpern R.A.    7 years ago

Thanks Petey! I meant to post it!

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
link   author  Perrie Halpern R.A.    7 years ago

Knowing yourself is the key. The dynamics of relationships are fraught with danger. Step into the danger.

Very true Kavika. For so many they really don't know themselves nor do they have the will to step into the danger. Yet the rewards can be a lot as well as the pain.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
link   author  Perrie Halpern R.A.    7 years ago


I have learned from dialectal training, that two things can be true at the same time. I know that this seems like it goes against common sense... but let me explain. It is kind of like when a two people witness an event. They see it through their eyes, their minds and their personal experiences. Call them filters or what ever you like. So the event can be described very differently. No one is lying in their explanation and both are their truths.

Another core part of dialetics is that although is acceptance of people on their level. Think of it this way. When you tell your son to unload the dishwasher every day, but he only does it 4 out of 7 days, it's not that he doesn't care necessarly, or he didn't do it because he was lazy... but it might have been the best he could do at that time and he will try to do better.Both of these statements can be true.

So when thinking about your mom, I am sure she loved you and that she had a problem expressing that love. That she said hurtful things and probably didn't mean to hurt you. That she tried her best and probably tried to do better but couldn't succeed. Know that she was a flawed person, and that she was probably just as unhappy being flawed as she made you unhappy. And that her time has passed and you will grieve, but don't grieve for the things that could have never been. Grieve because you miss her. Good, bad or indifferent, she was your mom, and will always be a part of you.

And know that you tried to tell her all of this in your actions, in your deeds and with your words, in her living years and find comfort in that you learned from her how to be a different kind of mom.

Love you.


Sophomore Participates
link   Dowser    7 years ago

Thanks, Perrie, that is REALLY good advice. Yes, I learned a lot from her! I only hope that I've not scarred Matthew for life, somehow... Smile.gif