Losing a sister or a parent is very difficult to come to terms with, and death itself may even put your own life in perspective. It can make people wonder if what they have done with their lives is what they wanted to do. Did they live their lives fully, did they go the places they wanted to go, see the things they wanted to see? In the text “My mother and her sister” by Jane Rogers, the narrator has just lost her mother, and although her aunt Lucy has lived with her since the funeral, they have not spoken about the mother at all.
The mother and her sister, Lucy, seem to be two opposites, although they are sisters; the narrator recalls the holidays she and her sisters spent at aunt Lucy’s with “.. and in school holidays we went to stay with Aunt Lucy because she was always home. We played with our stolid, large –faced cousins and ate Aunt Lucy’s sponge layer cakes which she glued together with butter butter-cream, and we waited for our mom to call us. (Line 18 to 20) The Lucy she remembers from her childhood was a traditional housewife, who took care of the children and the home, conjuring up delicious, healthy food, made from scratch, and knitting clothes for her children. She did not even learn how to drive a car, because her husband always did the driving.
To me, it seems like this has been Lucy’s way of living for quite some time, and she also seems to be tired of it.She was married for 49 years, although her husband did not make her happy anymore, and she cooked great, traditional meal, but when the narrator is tired of trying to impress her aunt by making dinner from scratch and consulting a recipe book, and serves her usual dinner (Indian and Italian convenience food) with wine, Lucy suddenly opens up. It is a funny coincidence (or maybe not a coincidence) that this coincides with the weather; it had rained since the funeral, and the aunt hates rain and refuses to go out, but this day, when they finally start to talk, the rain has stopped. They talk about the mother.She did not cook fancy dinners. Instead, she had a lot of boyfriends and was optimistic. The narrator suggests that the mother envied Lucy, but I think it was the other way around; Lucy envied her sister and her lifestyle, because Lucy lost her confidence in happiness, and that made her sad.
Once, she loved a man, but after she had gone to see him, she never saw him again. Lucy seems like an old woman who has lost faith in life itself. She is tired of her lifestyle, because everything she did was for other people, and now that she has lost her husband and her children have grown up, she is alone with nothing to do.She is old and maybe she feels like she has nothing to live for. At the end of the text, the narrator finally cries, although she had not been able to at her mother’s funeral.
She cries for her mother and also for her mother’s sister, because one wanted happiness and died, and the other knows it is impossible. The thing she could not see might have been that her aunt’s life was not really as perfect and happy as she thought it had been, and what she cannot understand might refer to her aunt not believing in happiness.Happiness might, for the narrator, be something essential, something that must be believed in, whether it exists or not. It is unbearable to live life if there is nothing to believe in, and that might be the message of this text. The text shows us how the death of a loved one affects us, not only because of the sorrow, but also because of the thoughts that occurs to us afterwards. Would Aunt Lucy’s life have been different if she had not been married for so many years? It might have been, but she will never know.