“Grand – Mother, Two Truths of the Same Woman.” Fiction. Based on a True Cancer Diagnosis.

“You go into your cocoon of safety…”

—Viviany Alicea

“Grand-Mother, Two Truths of the Same Woman.”

Fiction. Based on a True Cancer Diagnosis.

By Dorothy England

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

You wrap yourself in layers of denial
Laughing me off
As though my expressions of sadness
Were the mimicry of clowns.

She’s your mother
So you’d think the shorter travel of distance
Would make you closer
More fearful

Instead, I ponder if your ego
(Invisible to all, including you)
Has prompted an even wider expanse
Between you and her.

But I keep my lips silent
I have the problematic tendency
To over-analyze
And under-rationalize my words
Before they fall
Like splinters.

She too is like this
My grandmother.
Your mother.
The woman
Who encouraged me to pat my lips with lipstick
And to wink my eyes with relaxed modesty
The hostess who always brought a gift
Even if there was no celebration.

The woman who will now undergo a surgery
That pledges recovery
To only 60 percent of its participants.

Even with these facts,
I understand your hesitation to fall deep into the twist of despair,
Your guilted relief that she realizes she’s not the queen of everything.

It is in your complaints of her manipulation,
Even with the evidence of illness,
That I hear your pleas to be released
From her scorn and judgement.

I know because I too
Have adopted these traits.
And I now know what I must do.
I must stray from her likeness

I must accept
You’re not yet ready to shed your cocoon of comfort
To spread the wings of a truth I can see
To stretch them wide – it would only pain you since you are not yet ready.

I can’t force it, I can only
Let you be my father
And let you have this relationship
With your mother
Without my interference
Without the element of control
I learnt so well from her.

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