Saturday, April 23, 2011

Consider the lilies -- they don’t toil nor spin.

Scent Spotlight:  DSH Perfumes Kenya Lily

Consider the lilies -- they don’t toil nor spin,
and there’s not a king with more splendor than them.
Consider the sparrows -- they don’t plant or sow
but they’re fed by the Master who watches them grow...

I did not expect to do a scent spotlight this weekend, but sometimes pefume moves you. This is one of those times. DSH describes this perfume oil simply as follows: "A strong, bright, and intensely floral lily note."

Wow. It smells like lilies. That probably sounds so dumb and obvious, but so often we say a floral smells like a particular flower, when what we really mean is that is smells the way we expect the flower to smell when it's a perfume, not the way we expect the flower to smell when we put our face to a bouquet. And this really does smell like lilies. It smells like, well, Easter, in my mind. It smells like the resurrection and the life and the promise of unconditional love that we broken humans search for desperately every day of our lives.

I am about to take this to a totally unexpected and unfiltered place,  I guess.

I'm having a tough weekend, honestly. Occasionally I find myself confronted with some uncomfortable truths. Among them is that I yearn for a family I will never have. My grandparents died a long time ago, and they were the closest thing I have to parents, real parents, in the way that you love them and they love you and as you grow up you feel sure that you are hurting and disappointing them, and then one day you are getting a cup out of a cupboard and you say, "Who ever is the youngest is always your favorite" and they startle you by saying, "You're our favorite. You've always been our favorite," and fifteen years later you will sit in a bookstore coffee shop and not be able to stop the tears from spilling publicly down your face. Because they never stopped loving you, not for one moment, never stopped believing in you and after they are gone, all you can do is hope you've made them proud but you wish every day you could have them back for just one minute so they could tell you that.

I envy people with loving parents so much I ache inside. I know families are complicated and even loving parents can be difficult in their own way, but I wish I had taken better care to let me grandparents know how much I loved them while they were alive. I have been the perfect child to those dead parents of mine. They wanted me to go to college. I went to a good one. They wanted me to be a lawyer. I have a J.D. They taught me to love music and books and poetry, and I listen and sing and read and write about all of it. They wanted me to marry someone nice and smart and driven, and I did. I don't drink or smoke or take drugs. I give to charity. I help people when I can. I want to have the family they wanted for me. I want to give them everything they ever hoped for me. And I would give almost anything to see them one time, even to be yelled at because I haven't taken the best care of my health or they don't like how huge my student loans are.

The worst part, the hardest part, is when they died I lost everything but my brother. My father and I were estranged long before he died and I don't miss him half as much. My mother was lost to me ages ago. My father's sisters loved their parents as much as I loved them, but are incapable of acknowledging that anyone but they and my father could be their parents' children, which seems so unbelievably selfish to me that I cannot handle being around them. I will never forget one of them saying to me, "Do you still have Xthing your grandmother gave you?" And when I said yes, being told, "Well, good. That's your thing of theirs then," just before they systematically stripped my grandparents' house and took everything else for themselves. If I sound angry, I am. Not about the stuff, but about their unwillingness to acknowledge that I spent most of my life being raised by their parents and have just as much claim to loving and missing them as anyone in the world, that I might want more than one thing to remind me of the parents I loved and lost. Something they have never seemed to grasp is that I could give a crap about the value of the estate; all I care about is the unwillingness to acknowledge my loss is equal to their own.

Easter is a time for family and for remembering those who have gone before us, making sacrifices of blood and love so that we all might live better, kinder, more tender lives. I am sad that I have no one to share their love and loss with. I am sad I feel alone in missing them. I am sad the women who could have made room for me cannot. I am sad they are the only other keepers of the memories of the man and woman who loved me and raised me, and that they selfishly cannot share with my brother and I, who in our individual ways, try to be the people our grandparents wanted us to grow into.

But I am happy for this beautiful perfume. I am happy for my loving husband, my wonderful and funny brother, the beautiful woman he has married, their spectacular collective kids. I am grateful for all the people who have tried to step in and be my substitute parents, from my childhood best friend's parents I now call my own to my dedicated therapist, who after almost a decade is now so much more than an counselor. And I send my eternal love and longing into the universe that now holds the spirits of Luvine Martin Wiener and Johnie Wiener, who I believe must still be there somewhere, loving me and being proud of the life I have made.

 And if I have to espouse a formal belief in some kind of God, then I find she must reside there, in the heart of that never-ending love.

Happy Easter to all, may you spend it with those you love.

With eyes full of mercy and a heart full of love,
[she]really cares when your head is bowed low.
Consider the lilies and then you will know.

~ "Consider The Lilies" Joel Hemphill


Undina said...

Thank you for the beautiful post.
Your memories, your feelings are yours and nobody can change that. Do not concentrate on bad things - those happen to all of us, there is always something we wish had been different. Carry those loving memories, share them with people you love today and try to find piece in doing that.
Big virtual hug.

Josephine said...

Diana, I read this post a couple of days ago and have thought about it since then. Not sure I know the right thing to say, but I have experienced similar emotional places, and it took courage on your part to share your feelings so openly.

I hope Easter was a time of great love and healing for you. Know that you have support in distant places.

ChickenFreak said...

Beautifully expressed, Diana. I feel sad for you, and I envy you, all at once. In just the past few months I've come to the acceptance that my mother cannot and does not love, not me or anyone else, never has and never will. So I'm selfishly jealous that you experienced parent-like love, but I'm so sorry that you couldn't bask in the love, and grieve for the loss, without having to deal with others' selfishness.

Diana said...


I went through that a few years ago with my real mom. We haven't spoken since and I'm better off for it. Some people, even if they have the capacity to love, have zero capacity for expressing it. And yes, and I am super lucky to have had my grandparents, and to have been so close to them for so long.

Diana said...


Thank you for your kind and supportive words. I appreciate it.