Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Not Speaking...maybe for the last time

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.


Catherine said...

It would be nice to be a mind-reader at times like these. That way you wouldn't have to "ask" for answers - you could just grab them!

Dreaming again said...

I'm 43. The day my mom told my dad that she was pregnant, he walked out. A few months after I was born, she met my step dad. They married when I was 13 months old, just 4 days after the divorce was granted. (my dad, got married just 9 days later as well).

The family 'rumor' was that my dad left because she could not have been pregnant with his child.

She always very innocently denied it, how dare my dad accuse her of such a thing when he was the one being unfaithful. (he was, his new wife had been his girlfriend since before Kennedy was shot. I was born Nov. 21, 1964, the math isn't that hard to do).

I always believed my mom. Her character did not seem to be the kind that could have been unfaithful.

Recently, things have come about ...and I've learned ... it was more than likely the reason my dad walked out. Not only that, but my step father that she met when she was 4 months pregnant, she'd met a year and a half earlier.
I look like him ... a lot like him. There were people that actually told her she was a liar for saying I was his step daughter.

I'd always had trouble with the having two brown eyed parents and being blue eyed ..but I believed it ... because I wanted to believe my mom. Even though, my eyes were identical to my step fathers.

It's hard though .. he died when I was 14 ...and now she has some kind of dementia ..and the answers are really just gone.

It is weird to be in your 40's and realize that your childhood isn't what you thought it was, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I stopped by to thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog, and I decided to read this entry.

I'm sorry you're going through this with your mother, I know how uncomfortable and excruciating of an experience this must be for you. Answers are not easy to come by, but I applaud you for your efforts in this. You have done a good thing, and while your mother may be mad or upset right now, she might come around once these questions sit with her a while longer. Maybe she needs time to collect her thoughts.

I hope you get the answers that you need.

Best wishes.

Dragonfly said...

So sorry life has put you through all of this. Will be praying for you.