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Friday, August 30, 2019

Tears For My Mother

AddImage by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=2906458">Sabine van Erp</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=2906458">Pixabay</a> caption
Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay 

I feel as if with the passing of Mother’s Day this year, that I can finally write this post. I may have mentioned in the past that my Mom passed away in November. We had a love/hate relationship at best. She said she loved me and I hated it. I am sure in her mind, she did love me but I have come to the conclusion that she just was uncertain what love meant. The love she showed us kids was tainted by her own experiences. It was shaded by how she was shown love by the people in her life. I have finally come to understand that as I study my own ways of showing love. I, in my heart of hearts, do not know what love is, or if it is even real.

I cried today for the first time since my Mom passed. It has taken me over six months to shed one tear for the woman who gave birth to me. The woman who when someone would hurt me at school would come charging down to the school full of wrath and demanding that her little girl be avenged. The woman who when I would lay fighting terrible pains in my legs at night sat beside me and offered up prayers for me to find relief, who when I was sick would rub my back to make me feel better. It has taken me this long to start remembering the woman was only human and she did try.

I can remember her singing these off the wall little nursery rhymes when I was little but when I asked her about them later she didn’t remember doing it. It was from one of those rhymes I got my first nickname. Reetie Peetie Pumpkin Eatee. Yeah like I said…off the wall. My brother still calls me Reetie Peetie sometimes and I don’t think he could tell you where he got the name from. I remember my mom sitting me down every Saturday night and combing my hair out from my bath and then rolling it up in those pink Styrofoam curlers that were so popular in the late sixties, early seventies. She always did my hair for school and church. Although as evidenced in a couple school pictures it was a wasted effort. She did the best she could as a mom in those ways.

I just wish she could have shown her love when it came to emotions a bit different, to show how to treat someone with love instead of pitting them against the other. To be faithful to the one you have spoken vows with. She always thought we were too young to remember those times, but I remember because those were some of the most traumatic times in my life. It was a time filled with events that would shape the rest of my life and still haunts my dreams at night. Times that made a young child grow up before her time.

This has caused me to feel conflicted about my feelings for my Mom all of my life. I loved her and appreciated the things she did for me but at the same time, I hated her for making choices that affected not only her but our whole family. I lost respect for her by the time I was a teenager and only showed her respect as one does to all people who are older than oneself. I think this conflict was partly why I found it so hard to mourn her passing. Why I couldn’t seem to lose one tear until months later.

Image by <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3332113">Karen Smits</a> from <a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3332113">Pixabay</a>
Image by Karen Smits from Pixabay 

Just the other day my brother and I were out for his birthday and we began reminiscing about our lives growing up. I love the place where we were eating because they always play the oldies… yes, I am referring to old seventies and eighties music as the oldies. Damn, when did I get old? Oops. Sorry got off-topic. Anyway, we began talking about life growing up with two people who suffered from mental illness. My brother, thank God still has no memory of the times when our Dad was going through some major psychosis brought on by his schizophrenia. He remembered the medicated father, not the one who suffered from delusions and paranoia. He did, however, remember our mother’s bouts with depression and paranoia. These were much more frequent in our lives probably because we spent more time in our mother’s presence.

I sometimes forget I am not the only one who survived living with our parents. My two brothers were also witnessing the two lives who should have been happier but because of ugly mental illness fought demons daily just to survive. I understand this more from learning to live with my own demons. I am happy that I was passed over when it came to the schizophrenia. It is bad enough how out of control I feel when my manic side rears its head to try and destroy my hard-earned peace. I speak this as I battle with this monster right now.

Depression makes you sedentary, mania makes you feel invincible and in charge. Of the two sides of being Bipolar, I fear the manic episodes more. They take longer to recover from both physically and financially. The longer the manic period, the longer it takes me to dig out from the hole I have dug myself into in regards to money. Don’t get me started on the apologies that have to be made to the people around me either. Mania means my filter on my mouth is shut off and I’m not afraid to say what is in my head no matter the cost to those I am speaking to.

Once again I went off-topic which is dealing with the loss of my mother. The bad thing right now is with Father’s day approaching I am missing my Dad more. It seems like with Mom gone, I feel his loss more. I saw a meme on Facebook the other day about if we could take one more walk with our Dad would we do it. My answer was a resounding yes. My Dad loved to take walks and if I could join him for one right now I would go no matter how bad my legs were hurting. Can I say the same thing about my Mom? As callous as it may sound the answer would be no. Does that make me a bad daughter?

I hope that somewhere down the road I will be able to move on from the animosity that I still harbor towards my mom. I am trying desperately to improve my outlook in regards to my mother. I believe each of us is a work in progress and all we can do is strive to be better than we were yesterday. With each new day, we are given opportunities to either succeed or fail. We choose which direction we want to take.  I think the fact that I finally was able to shed a tear or two for my Mom means I have grown in the right direction. Even at the tender age of fifty-two, I am always learning something new. I guess the old adage was wrong. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Until next time, love fully and laugh often.