Living in the moment was a foreign concept to our mother. She talked constantly about her past experiences, mostly negative. My sister Abby and I were little girls and remember well her tirades about how mistreated she was and how lucky we were.
One of her favorite relatives to discuss was her Aunt Opal. She and her mother stayed with her when her mother was ill. She would wind up slowly and by the time she was done with all the injustices, she was in full blown meltdown mode. The tears would flow and she would remind us again how lucky we were not to have such an aunt.
These memories did not fade with age but only seemed to become more burdensome. She shared these stories with us so often that we could repeat them almost verbatim. Abby and I did wonder why if they were so unpleasant that she shared them so often and with such detail.
Stranger though was that on our annual trip to southern Indiana, Mary made a beeline to Opal’s door. She could not rest until we had been to her home and dredged up all the unpleasantries again. Not exactly a cordial visit!
Mary seemed to enjoy these visits with Opal. Was she a chronic, sadistic wreck or just trying to have people take pity on her?
Abby and I know that living in the past and making excuses for bad behavior is a quick way to alienate family and friends. Not exactly Dale Carnegie material!