My mum is a dreamer: Losing family but learning to love

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter, the author writes into an estrangement for which she doesn’t yet understand the reasons. She writes that maybe it is because she is different, perhaps it is because of intergenerational trauma, or perhaps it is a way a family tried to survive. The reasons are unclear; the story is unresolved and therefore can only ever be partly processed. She writes through four features of estrangement from the position of a daughter who has been cut off by her family: A mother and a father and a sister. These particular features are the ones that she found most challenging: namely rupture, silence, loss, and loneliness. The stories told are not meant to be a how-to survival guide as these lived experiences are full of stumbles and wrong turns. They continued to shift as the author wrote into them and beyond. There is, however, desire huddled between every word on the page, the desire that her story may find yours and that they can bring each other encouragement, tenderness, relief, and perhaps even some amusement, some cheer. The words may not say loudly enough that in the long pause of estrangement, our imperfect, unfinished selves must live joyous lives now, today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNarrating Estrangement
Subtitle of host publicationAutoethnographies of Writing Of(f) Family
EditorsLisa P. Z. Spinazola, David F. Purnell
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003124016
ISBN (Print)9780367643362, 9780367643379
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022

Publication series

NameWriting Lives: Ethnographic and Autoethnographic Narratives


  • family
  • estrangement
  • autoethnography


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