I called my mother on Mothers Day to tell her “Happy Mothers Day”. She said she was busy getting ready to go somewhere. She was very “short” with me. “Yes”…”No”…one syllable answers. After about a very long 90 seconds I gave up trying to make small talk. I told her I’d talk to her some time when she wasn’t busy and that I loved her. Her response was, “Okay. Bye”.
I waited 47 years to do it, but a few weeks ago I finally sent my mother a letter asking some questions about my childhood and our family tree.
None of the questions were asked in an accusing or negative way. I really went out of my way to be sure they were asked in as gentle a way as possible.
I asked her things such as did she ever have a “nervous breakdown”. I asked her did she ever have to take medication because of her “nerves”.
I asked her about my uncle who hanged himself when I was very young; what was his diagnosis, about his hospitalizations, etc.
I asked her about my sister who is 10 years older than me, about why when I was in 1st grade I came home from school one day and both her wrists had bandages on them. When I asked back then I was told she cut them washing dishes.
I asked her did she know if the reason for her affairs was because of an intense need to feel loved or accepted by a man.
Finally, I asked her was my “daddy” my biological father. Maybe that’s the one that pissed her off. I have always wondered though. As long as I have been old enough to fathom such a thing I have wondered.
I remember a man coming to visit during weekdays sometimes. I remember he drove a truck. He would help me crawl up in the truck and take me to the store to get a bag of candy. I cannot see his face. All I can remember is the truck and the fact it was about midday and that my daddy was always at work when he came.
I never once asked why she hit me in the face my entire life with any weapon that was handy. I didn’t ask why she would kick me with her very expensive cowboy boots on. I didn’t ask why she choked me. I didn’t ask why she told me I was an accident. I didn’t ask her how she could walk out on me when I was 6 years old to “run away” with a new boyfriend. Nor did I ask her how she did it all again when I was 12 after daddy allowed her to come home after the first time.
There are no answers for such things. I just figure she had a horrible temper and never learned how to control her anger. I don’t hold any grudges towards her. I truly don’t. That is why I didn’t ask her anything about those things, only the other questions. Only because I think somehow the answer might help me to get through the depression I live with.
I stopped going around my mother about 9 years ago even though she lives just a few minutes up the road. It is rather easy since she has only visited me once in approximately 12 years. I always write her letters…innocent innocuous letters…because I want to be a good daughter and stay in touch, but every time I am around her I come away feeling really bad about me. Somehow I thought the way that I wrote the letter, and the way I tried to ask in such a light hearted way, that surely she would understand that I needed to know some of these things and not get mad about me asking. She is getting up in age and there is no one left who could answer most of these questions.
Looks as if I won’t get any answers.