Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Questions to a Promise

[Writers Island this week prompts us to write about "the promise" and that gave rise to this.]



Questions to a Promise


On her deathbed my great-grandmother asked
my great-grandfather not to remarry.

He promised. And he kept that promise.

Did it matter?

How would my grandmother have been different
if she had been raised by a step-mother
instead of her just-7-years-older sister?

How would my mother have been different
if she had been raised by only her mother,
and not also by her aunt,
who had been mothering since she was 14?

And what would that mean to me?
Would I be the same me
if my great-grandfather
had broken his promise?



16 comments:

Mary Timme said...

What ifs...the great questions always begin with what if. Sometimes, for no other reasons than we don't know. Interesting supposing.

paisley said...

i cannot help but feel your great grandmother had no right to extract that promise from your great grandfather,, but then again he was under no real obligation to honor it for the course of this life time...

everything would have been different... i am saddened by his losing his own life.. the day she left him.....

keith hillman said...

The only thing you can be certain of, is that very many peoples lives would have been so different. Apart from that, these questions will ever more remain unanswered.

Jo said...

Gosh that was quite a thing she asked of him.....a thoughtful piece.

June said...

A recent post of mine pondered some of my history too. These sorts of questions always roll around in my mind.

Maria said...

I don't think a deathbed promise should bind anyone. And wow....I cannot fathom asking my spouse not to re-marry.

How did he react? Was it easy for him or hard? I wonder...

sister AE said...

Hello, Mary Timme. Thanks.

Hi, Paisley. I think you are probably right, although I do know part of the reason she asked is that she never managed to accept her own step-mother. She asked him not to give her children a step-mother like she had. I don't think I'd say he lost his own life - but since he died before I was born, I don't know for sure.

Hello, Keith and Jo.

Hi, June. I'll have to take a look at your post.

Hi, Maria. The consensus in the current generations seems to agree with you about deathbed promises. I gather she was somewhat demanding and this was just one last thing. My mom may know more about his feelings, since he was still around when she was little. I'll have to remember to ask her sometime.

tumblewords said...

Very deep thoughts. The what-ifs are endless...like roads not taken. Interesting story.

sister AE said...

Thanks, tumblewords. I actually wrote out the whole story, but decided I wasn't ready to share the long saga. This is the "Readers Digest" version of the "Cliff Notes" version of that story.

Preethi said...

profound... the what ifs of life are endless...

gautami tripathy said...

Food for thought!

sister AE said...

hello, Preethi and Gautami.

Rob Kistner said...

Very interesting questions you've asked. How would we be different if the past, of which we are a product, were to be altered in some way?

Fascinating -- but unanswerable.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Rob. Usually questions like this are the beginning, leading to the creation of one answer or another. But this time, I left it with the questions.

Redness said...

Different strokes for different folks ... your G Parents pact exemplifies just that ... love your post!

sister AE said...

Thanks, Redness. Glad you stopped by.