CREDOS : No compassion — III

Arthur Magida

The problem is that I wasn’t just “one of them.” I was damaged, I had damaged her, and the breach between us was so wide and so antipodean that countenancing even the possibility of abridging it was almost the same as risking what might happen if we didn’t try. Either way, there was the probability of two stra-ngers staring across an abyss. The gap between us was as co-rrosive and daunting as it was frightening, which may be why it had become permanent.

From Oedipus onward, all of us have seen moms through prisms that are as inaccurate as they are sometimes hopeful and dreamy: A king marries his mother and stabs his eyes out in shame; Harriet bakes brownies every damn day for Ricky and David, and everything’s right with the world or, at least, at 522 Sycamore Road in idyllic Hilldale. But enough of Oedipus’ mother/wife. And enough of Harriet, famed chef of Sycamore Road. There are real-life moms and real-life problems and swirling around us are real “headwinds of darkness” — Sophocles’ words about Oedipus which, I pray, is all we have in common with that cursed son/husband.

“You have no compassion!” — It might be true. I hope not. I’ve lived my life with respect for others, volunteering for good causes and working for a few years at slave labour wages for a major public interest group. I also tried to have compassion for my mother. What’s important now is not whether she was right or wrong, but the impulse that chose her particular parting words. By mustering compassion I truly have, I can suggest that she was really trying to help me by deflating myths I might harbour about mothers and sons. —, concluded