Her name is Mom

January 15, 2010
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"Alright so are you ready to start the interview?" I said not knowing if I was even ready to start the interview myself. I didn't know what to expect but I wasn't nervous or scared.
"Yes," my mom said as she almost positioned herself for the interview because she didn't know what to expect either but in a different way than me. I didn’t know how she would respond to the questions. She didn't have any idea what I was going to ask about or what we were going to get into but this was as ready as either of us was ever going to be.
"Alright what was your childhood like?..." The interview was going well; I surprisingly was doing fine with follow-up questions. It was a very relaxed environment our interview was conversational even though we didn't really have any talk like this one before. We were getting into a lot of things her childhood, family, friends and her decision with college. College was something I was particularly interested in because she was the first and only of her siblings to go and also in the time she was growing up it was kind of rare for someone to go to college, unlike today. I wanted to know more and then we started talking about her dad’s death and how the social security from his death basically paid for her college; it was how she could afford it. I was surprised I know her dad had died but I didn't know any details or that the money she used for college was available from her dad’s death.
"So that was a challenge growing up, when your dad died senior year?" My mom paused. It looked almost as if she didn't know what to say even though I asked the question already knowing the answer, yes.
"... that was a significant event." then she pointed to the recorder and did a hand motion as to cut it off. Now I really didn't know what to expect because I didn't think my mom would have any trouble with anything being recorded but I turned it off.
We talked more about her dad and how he died and how it all affected her and her life. She started to tear up and so did I and we both scooted out chairs closer to each other and hugged each other. She said she still had troubles with her dad’s death and that she still had trouble talking about it. I thought about that for a long time, how this memory still sticks with her so vividly and it's still something she's coping with. How this is something she doesn't like to share and after all these years the memory could be like it was yesterday.
"I thought you knew," she said almost sounding like guilt floated in her voice with the leftover grief we just shared.
"No I didn't," I felt that I unconsciously said because I wasn't in the room anymore, I was in my head thinking and sitting with what I had just learned for a little bit.
"I'm sorry you had to learn this way."
It was true I had no idea what to expect but if I had know what was going to happen I don't know if it would've turned out the same. I'm glad that I know what happened now. After it I thought about what happened during the interview in class when we talked about what part stood out the most, what resonated with us and that was the part I thought of, I wanted to share it. But I knew because it was off the record I couldn't and because my mom didn't want that shared I wouldn't. It was hard though, having that part of it, the part that made the interview what it was, almost like it didn't happen. The only thing in the transcription that leaves any evidence of that part is, "Interviewee requested to stop and have the next part off the record. Reconvened at 6:07." For such a strong part of the interview it agitates me that that is all it says about that part of the interview.
The thing that most surprised me was the fact that I didn't know about my grandpa's death. At least what I think to be the important part. It's strange to me that I went on all that time not knowing and that still no one in my family really talks about it. I am really happy that I know now but I wonder if this project for English never happened when would I find out or if I ever would have learned about it. I think about my other family members too, like my cousins. Do any of them know and if so which ones and how did they find out? I know my mom’s brothers and sisters all know because it was their dad they were there and alive when it happened but do their spouses know? It made me think if there were other things I didn't know about my mom's family. And then I thought about my dad’s family, all the things that I didn't know about that side either. It seems strange but in a way it bothers me that I didn't know and it's annoying to think about what else I don't know and if I ask about those things will my parents tell me.
I feel most passionate about the situation, when I think about my mom. What she went through especially and how it truly has affected her whole life, through till this day. I can't begin to image the experience and the trauma. Now that I know the story and all the details I don't think I want to ask my mom more about her feelings because I don't think I want to know. Also I don't think there is anything more to say about this part of her life at least. However I do want to find out more that I don't know about her life in general, other experiences that truly shaped her. I also want to know more about my dad’s life and the details about how his mom and dad died. This time I'm not going to wait for an unusual English project to ask and learn.





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