Daddy’s Dead and Mummy’s got Dementia

I guess it had to happen. I rarely look at the individual Facebook account that I needed to create an Author page. I have no Facebook friends. Too risky.

But—This morning, for no reason in particular, I did click on that “other” page and was horrified to see my siblings’ smiling faces, right there in the “Suggested Friends” list, along with my sons.

Linda Summersea is not my real name. My sons know about my alter ego, and they get it. No issues there. I clicked “Remove” for each of my sibling suggested friends, but how long have they been there?

You can run, but you can’t hide from Facebook!

Have I been outed? Do my siblings know? Am I the elephant in the room?

My memoir has nothing negative about my siblings because they never did anything to harm me. That hair-pulling, screaming, rastleing, bouncing off the bunk bed and rolling across the bedroom floor was kid stuff. We never hurt each other. So there’s that. I guess.

What I do remember most was that Daddy’s super-power had always been his ability to make each of us kids feel that we were the least loved of his children.

Later on, when she was sure Daddy wasn’t around, and when we had no reason to expect it, Mummy would cup a hand to the side of her mouth to conceal her moving lips and whisper the long-sought words.

“Your father loves you.”

None of us ever believed it. Not even for a second.

Mummy made me grow up fast, and so long as supper was on the table, Daddy didn’t care.

Mummy said I was too big for my britches, when all I ever wanted was a swing in an elm tree, a library card, and the warmth of a hug.

Now Daddy’s dead, and Mummy’s got dementia.

Mummy swears she’s going to live to be a hundred. God bless us.

Memoir writers know that whatever we write is our truth. It doesn’t matter how it happened to you. This is how it happened to me.

So what do you do when you’ve laid your soul bare in print? First of all, you make no apologies. Your family is what it is—and what it was.

There will always be triggers that take you back to those scenes.

Here in Belize, right now, as I’m sitting here typing, I can hear an owl hooting over and over and over in the palm tree behind me, and there I go, out to the snowy woodlot on the farm in January where it’s time to burn the brush remaining from logging the oaks that fueled our furnace.

I guess I’ll know soon enough if they’ve found me out. I suspect we’ll have a long talk and compare notes. I know they have there own issues for sure. How could they not? Daddy broke a hoe over one brother’s back the autumn I went off to college, and my sister is terrified of the dentist. Novacaine cost extra.

I hated being in charge. Mummy used to put us out to pasture as soon as Daddy left for work. I was six. I led my younger siblings over hill and dale through the barns, the tool shed, the alfalfa field. You name it. Until Daddy came home for supper.

Then just when I thought I was finished with all that, Mummy dropped another calf.

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