“Oh my gosh, okay. Stop. Crying.”
That’s it. That’s what I repeatedly told myself when I reached the last page of Sarah Ockler’s book, Fixing Delilah. I started reading it exactly a month ago, and I just finished it last night because I can’t finish a chapter or two without crying, and it’s making my eyes feel tired than it should be. At times, I need to stop reading to stop myself from crying like a pig. I usually don’t read overview of books except when the book’s genre isn’t really my interest, and Sarah Ockler’s books are the likes I would read in a heartbeat. What really caught my attention was its tagline on the book cover, ‘Family. It’s not always a perfect fit.’ I am soooooo sensitive when it comes to family matters. I tear easily when the topic is about family maybe because I was raised by family-oriented parents.
This book shot daggers through my heart because Delilah’s issues were solely about her mother; the ever heart breaking mother-daughter relationship. I was also kinda envious of her because even though they’ve grown apart, they can still say the most intimate words that I think I will never utter in front of my mother/father even in a hundred years. Delilah’s inhibitions were felt by most teenagers, even those who have good life; insecurities, fear, anger, guilt – everything. And by far, this is the book I can say that I can truly relate to. It made my chest twist into endless knots because of the love, anger, and guilt that I, too, felt against my mother. And there is nothing to compromise about it. It sucks that we kind of think very little of the big sacrifices they make for us when it’s all they could offer. The pain that I went through as I share the fear of Delilah touched my deepest soul and reminded me to be thankful even for the littlest of things. There were so many great lessons Sarah Ockler taught me with this book. And the best of all those is… ‘Family. It’s not always a perfect fit.’
So here are the quotes from this lovely book ever.
fix (n) 1: a position from which it is difficult to escape; a predicament fix (v) 1: to repair something broken, damaged, or spoiled; to mend. 2: to make amends for something wrong 3: to restore a relationship by resolving a disagreement or rift
“The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Mom on working weekends: You’ve got to plant the seeds of hard work to reap the harvest of a satisfied client.“
“But things aren’t different. She’s her and I’m me and surrounding us is an ocean of mess and misunderstanding, full of pirates and sharks just waiting to see who slips in first.”
“Aunt Rachel says that the universe is always trying to speak to us, and that the universe doesn’t waste time speaking about things that aren’t withing our direst power to influence or change.”
“He just drove away, and I walked on in the other direction, the distance between two points growing long and cold.”
“I want to shake her and scream and tell her that for all her hard work to secure our future, the snake plants in the foyer know more about my life than she does.”
“She wears it, like makeup – a paper-thin layer of unwavering resolve flaking away to reveal all the broken parts underneath.”
“It’s funny how someone can be such an integral part of your life, like you laugh at the same jokes and eat your ice cream cones the same way and share your toys and dreams and everything but your heartbeats, and then one day–nothing. You share nothing. It’s like none of it ever happened.”
“A tiny crack in the previously solid understanding of one another. A crack to fissure. A fissure to a break. And then a gulf, big and empty and impossible to cross.”
“A thousand pounds of unspoken words keeping them apart.”
“There are times like now when I wish that he was here, that I could ask him what I should do, what I should say, how I should be.”
“Delilah Hannaford, you nearly broke my heart when you didn’t come back that summer.”
“I thought they’d last forever.”
“I don’t name the things that have gone unsaid between us for so long, but they’re here, rising up like steam in the heat of this place.”
“Don’t shut yourself off to new possibilities. But be mindful of the Fool, and don’t dive into anything with your eyes closed.”
“Everything is open to your interpretation.”
“Did I know she was hurting, even if I couldn’t name it?”
“…we’re as close as ever, but I know nothing lasts.”
“I know my dad always looks like he’s smiling, but on the inside, it’s like his life was frozen on the day she left.”
“She runs away from me and I’m her own daughter.”
“Everyone thinks it’s so awesome that I have all this freedom, but honestly, it kind of sucks. I’d rather have my mom around once in a while to bake cookies or bitch at me to turn down the music.”
“Bad things happen“, I say. “But why does it have to erase all the good? You and Mom used to be so close. Same with me and Mom. I don’t know how everything got broken.”
“She’ll never understand the embarrassment of parent-teacher conference night when my mother asks to do hers over the phone. She’ll never know the sinking feeling of seeing my report card–back when it was still decent–unopened on the counter for weeks.”
Goose-bumps, holding-out-breath, lumps-in-our-throats, tears-in-our-eyes, all-we-need-is-love kind of sing.
“Maybe it has to do with being in my grandmother’s room, here among her ashes and the common things of the dead that become sacred, wanting so much for my mother to like me, to understand me, to mean what she says about me being happy and safe… I don’t want her to turn off the light. I don’t want us to go.”
“Stephanie falls headlong for Casey and begins to lose some of herself in the process.”
“Patrick’s show last week, hearing him sing as if it was for me alone, I understand how easy it would be for me to lose yourself in the heart of another. It’s frightening. Exhilarating. An ocean with no lifeguard.”
“How can anyone accept that someone once so vibrant, so alive, is never coming back?”
“They don’t demand. They don’t assume. They’re just… there. Wanting to know know us. There’s a word for these people.Sometimes I think I’m on the edge of some great understanding, looking up at all the answers I just can’t reach, like apples too high in the tree. But tonight, I stretch my fingers toward the sky, and I think I h#ave the answer. The word. Friends.”
“I was, but then I realized that I was holding on to something that didn’t exist anymore. That the person I missed didn’t exist anymore. People change. The things we like and dislike change. And we can wish they wouldn’t all day long, but that never works.”
“In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. Maybe even on one finger. Those are the friends you need to cherish, and I wouldn’t trade one of them for a hundred of the other kind. I’d rather be completely alone than with a bunch of people who aren’t real. People who are just passing time.”
“Sometimes I wonder if my whole life will pass by this way: me waiting in the shadows, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone else to make it happen. Something new or different or crazy and amazing. I’ve been there for so long, letting everyone else figure it out for me, floating along without much direction or conscious thought. Reacting. Attention-seeking, Mom calls it. Impulsive. Reckless.”
“Unfortunately, when families fight, lots of people get caught in the tide. It was just one of those nights.”
“…and I wonder how much we don’t see. How much of our lives we witness and accept as truth when the rest of the iceberg–the heaviest, bulkiest part–is buried and invisible.”
“We all long for what could have been.”
“…and when he looks out over the crowd and winks at me, I know that of all the girls shouting and blowing kisses and dreaming about him tonight, I’m the one he’ll seek when the music fades; my hand is the one he’ll reach for when the lights go dark.”
“After all my time muddling in the past, the future seems like a foreign land in which I understand neither the language nor the culture, wanting nothing more than a one-way ticket back to the present.”
“Maybe some things really are that simple, and other things have a lot more layers, and the only thing that’s ours to accept is the fact that we don’t always get to know the answers.”
“I finally understand that it has never been about the secrets or the truth or the ghosts. I just miss my mother. I miss knowing how to make her smile. I miss being important in her life.”
“Mom’s face takes on an intensity that I don’t recognize; a pain I’ve never seen before in her eyes despite the long and troubled story of us. It makes me want to take her away from all of it, to become the mother just this once, to rock her until it’s okay again. All the times I hated Claire Hannaford Speaking, smile-as-you-dial, the constant buzzing of mobile communications devices, I’d give anything now for a call from her assistant. To see my mother clear her throat and shake it off and answer that phone, large and in charge.”
“…to remind me of everything that happened this summer; how easily some things can be broken for good and bad, and how some things, no matter how shattered, can still go back together. Like Moo, my family may never be as strong as it once was. There are chips and cracks and scars. But some of them can be repaired, piece by piece, rebuilt into something even more cherished and loved and unique. That’s what I’m working for now. That’s what I’m holding on to.”
Mother–she’s a human being, just like me. Frail and faulty and flawed, capable of making the most heinous mistakes and inflicting the most severe pain… but equally capable of the greatest love.
It’s a looooooong post now but… I can’t help it so whatever. And what captured my heart and soul was how Delilah tried her very best to reach out to her mother. She dug deeper to her family’s secret to know what else or how else to get in touch with her mother again. It’s truly heartbreaking to witness how a connection gets lost even when you’re living under the same roof and it’s all because of the lack of communication. We need to remind ourselves that the only way to make a relationship healthy is to keep the communication. And there are so many ways to do that. Just, keep communicating. Sometimes the only way to save sanity of a person is to let them let go of the things that are pulling them down, drowning their souls with depression.
Please, please, if you haven’t read this book, read it. Open your mind with the circumstances Delilah had gone through, and you will surely realize and understand so many things. Enjoy guys! *wipes tears*
P.S.: Thank you so much for this book, Sarah Ockler. Thank you, thank you.