It's November 25, 2022 and I went looking through my old mail for something completely unrelated to what I found. What I found was a 13-year old memory that haunts me to this day. It is what I refer to as the Apex of the example of what I had to deal with when dealing with my Mom.
I have decided to put it here mostly for me and my memory but also for anyone else who has to deal with insanity on a daily basis. The pain lasts. I have done so much work to move past, to heal, including following instructions from a therapist who got her idea out of a book, to write down all the hurtful words the other person used on you and BURN THEM in a cleansing ceremony. I did that, and guess what - THE PAPER WOULD NOT BURN! Not a bit of it. THAT'S how strong hurtful, evil venomous words are. They refuse to be destroyed. But, I still try - every day. Even 13-years later.
"A Walk In The Park --- with Mom."
[This was written just after the Very Bad Day in October 2009]
BLOG: I wish it were legal to hit your Mother, and I understand why Daddy wanted to Kill Her!
I'm mid-way into my 4th decade with her and honestly I can only remember the first decade being a happy one. When I was 10 and under she loved me, she was nice to me, we were a "we". Then she married Ralph and that turmoil began. It ended in 2001 when he died, and I naively thought she would be kind to me again. But, in fact, she is just as vicious as she has been since I turned 11.
Take yesterday, for example. The day started out innocently enough. I called her around 10:00 am and we had a nice, good-morning chat. Neither of us had decided what we were going to do with our beautiful Fall Sunday, so she ended our conversation with "If I do something I'll let you know.".
Then about an hour later I had decided that with such a beautiful day I would like to get out in it and go for a hike, so I took a chance and called Mom. Typically, she refuses my invitations to do much of anything except see a movie, or, on occasion, meet for lunch or dinner. We don't have much in common, and usually she finds a way to ruin any event - like a golf outing, etc. So, I called her and told her I was going to "take a chance" and ask her to do something with me. By all miracles we were able to find a compromise and she agreed to come over and we would walk through the UK Arboretum - it's not a country drive, which she hates and I love; it's paved so she won't get her feet dirty; there aren't any big hills to maneuver; and I get to see some trees and beautiful nature (which heals my soul like nothing else can). Ironically, (there's that word again) I called Eric to tell (his voice machine) the good news: that although it took an act from the UN General Assembly, after a 90-minute session, I finally negotiated an outing with my Mom for the day!!!
The getting her over here (a 20-minute drive she seems to find difficult) went smoothly enough. She arrived on time and I took her upstairs to show her my newest skin care line that I was very excited about. She thought the packaging looked good and she didn't have anything negative to say. PS, I had to drag her away from her cigarettes first. That was the first thing she did after she got out of her car. I had to ask her, "Please let me show you this first before you start smoking."
Then we took off for the Arboretum. I was driving her Lexus, and she always makes me feel tense, but she can't see, nor does she know her way around, so we have gotten to the point where I take over once she gets to Lexington. She still tries to break from the passenger side, and looks for cars when I am passing, etc. It's very annoying considering I've driven cross-country twice, but I've learned to ignore it. I try to laugh about her insanity - her fear of losing control, etc.
We arrived at the Arboretum and she is still trying to control the way I drive by telling me of a parking space I missed in lieu of the one I chose (a BETTER parking space, you know, the one SHE saw first). I got out of the car and said a silent prayer, "PLEASE don't let me REGRET this." Famous last words.
As we walked on the paved path, I noticed other "couples" (friends, etc.) walking next to each other and talking, and a few lovers holding hands, then there was me and Mom - several steps apart, in absolute silence. It continued on this way for about 1/4th of a mile, then I decided to try and interject a conversation starter: "What do you and Aunt Jo talk about when you take walks together?" All I got back was a cold, short, "Nothing." And then we manage a bit of small talk about how they take a lot of breaks to sit down, etc. Then it goes basically silent again, so I begin to talk to the birds - a large Peregrine Falcon to be exact - who was being run off by a smaller bird and they both were squeaking it up. Amazing, though.
We get to the top of a "hill" (that most people jogged up). I looked at her pained face and asked if she wanted to sit down. She grumbled that there was no place to sit, and I corrected her and showed her the upcoming bench. (To this point she has made a few negative grumbles already, that I chose to ignore). We both sat down and I stretched out my back a little while the other nice people chatted and walked past us. Then, she began to speak ... "I'll tell you what Aunt Jo and I talk about ... we talk about how you [uh-oh, here we go again] ... how you don't want to be with "the family" - that you never want it to be the three of us, you want it to be just me and you." [UGH - and on such a pretty day, too.] So I said, do you want me to answer this? I'll tell you why I don't want to be around you and Aunt Jo together - you two get together and it's as though I don't exist. You completely ignore me and go on chatting about the people you know, that I don't, and no one ever tries to bring me into the conversation. Why would I want to be around people who obviously don't want me there? I'm too old for this." And on and on it went.
We got up and began walking again. Then I found a caterpillar walking on the path who was sure to get squished, so I picked up a leaf and moved it on to the grass to give it a fighting chance. I hear Mom's voice a few steps ahead of me: "You're weird." That just sent me over the edge. You know, I didn't ask you here to insult me - to take beautiful moments and use them to tell me, yet again, how much you hate me; how I'm not good enough; whatever. This was, "supposed to be" (she LOVES using "supposed to" phrases all the time) ... this was supposed to be a nice Fall outing with my Mom - not your chance to berate me yet again. And the fight began. I was so upset - here we were surrounded by all these nice people, enjoying a peaceful Sunday together, and I am practically yelling at my mother for being such a vicious bitch. I had no alternative than to walk away.
I walked away purposefully going through the grass knowing she wouldn't because she would be afraid of getting dog poo on her shoes, and with freezing cold chills running through every cell in my body, tried to restore my day by looking at the beautiful flowers.
She finally came up there and when I got her attention I said, "I'm ready to go." and began walking to the car. She had the key so I had to wait for her. She got in the car and asked, "Do you want to get something to eat?"; as light and happy as if nothing had occurred.
I said, "No." and we got into the car.
Then part two of the fight came.
"I wish you were normal." she said to me! She repeats the same shit she always does when we fight. To prove some point of how I "have fits", she recalls an episode, gosh, maybe ten years ago, when I was swimming in my cousin's pool and the young kids were playing and splashing. Well, one of them started splashing me (an adult) and I asked him not to - that I was wearing contacts and the chlorine hurt my eyes. He kept on and on. I couldn't get him to stop, so I yelled for his parents or someone to stop this mean kid. But Mom's version is that "everybody saw you having a fit when the kids were only playing in the pool". and then she begins to argue with me when I remind her that this kid was hurting me and no one would jump in to help me. "You should have gotten out of the pool." was her defense this time.
She continued to come at me with verbal attacks like someone with a machine gun - a machine gun of venom. Round after round. I couldn't take any more. I found myself making a FIST. I was gearing up TO HIT MY MOTHER IN THE MOUTH TO SHUT HER UP! - To STOP her LIES. "STOP SLANDERING ME WITH YOUR LIES, MOTHER!".
When I woke up today the ONLY thing I wanted to do was share a beautiful day with the most important person in my life: MY MOMMIE. It ended with my hand in a fist ready to hit her. NO ONE ELSE at the park that day (or ANY day) was having this kind of experience. Every single person was doing what all normal people do - they were enjoying taking a walk in the park on a beautiful day.
The next day I go into healing mode. I try to process what the hell just happened? I realized that she must be such a miserable person. My friend says she is selfish. I think she's fucking insane. I remember something she told me once a few years ago, that Daddy didn't want to have children "with her". I so wish he was alive so I could find out who was more to blame in their relationship. According to her, he was the crazy one. But I've lived with her for 44 years and I know how mean she can be. It's like she enjoys pushing the people she "loves" over the edge. She lives for this. And I told her that during our walk yesterday, "You live for this stuff - you can't have a peaceful hour!"
It's like this all the time, when she's not drunk, she finds a way to start a fight and loads on me with such viciousness that I seriously want to hit her. Or when she is drunk and we have to have someone help us pull her out of a fancy restaurant - you know, like my last birthday.
It's not one incident that causes a problem - it's the buildup over the years, brick by brick until you just can't take the pressure anymore.
The good news is that I did pull myself out of her spider's web and recovered my beautiful Fall day. After a call to my Aunt's voice machine to clarify what actually happened - knowing what a spin Mom would put on it when she told her ... I can hear it now, "Nancy doesn't want to be with us because she's not the center of attention.". And then she'd go on about what "a fit" I threw at the park, etc. She was very good at getting them on her side, never taking responsibility for her own words. It was NEVER her.
She enjoys driving a wedge between people. She's done it with me and the other members of my family, and even with her second deceased husband, my step-father, who I could get along with just fine when she wasn't there, but get them together and it was pick on me day.
I finally came to realize that "I would rather be alone, than be with you."
So sad. She is my mother, after all. One would hope and want there to be some warmth. Why she is insistent on keeping me in the black sheep category, I will never know. It was "supposed" to be a nice, gentle day spent together, not another attempt to berate me. Why can't she just live in peace with her daughter? It hurts my heart to no end, this reaching out to her, getting bitten, and then the cold, hard, retreat back to solitude. I wasn't asking for much, just a few hours on a pretty day without being chastised.
I couldn't let her ruin my day. So I drove back to the Arboretum and took my camera so I could take pictures of the beautiful flowers, and as I was beginning my walk, a nice lady and I started up a conversation. She offered to walk with me and tell me all about the flowers we were seeing. That one moment changed my day. We strolled and chatted (well she chatted, I mostly listened) for the next thirty minutes. There was such an ease. An ease I wish I had with my mother. An ease I had with my grandmother, who I miss terribly. We even got onto the subject of men. "Marry a friend.", she said. It was nice. Then I asked her a question: "If you saw a caterpillar on a path would you move it so it wouldn't get squished? Is that weird?" Her answer: "Yes, I would. It's not weird at all."
Originally written October 4, 2009
My first blog entry on the subject of Healing (and lets be honest, its mostly healing from 5-decades with Mom) was about experiencing the Apex of how bad a day can get with her, and how confusing it is when My intention was nothing like how the day went—with her. In it I mentioned a technique recommended by therapists, that sadly did not work for me when the paper I wrote her hurtful words on WOULDN’T BURN! So – I will try this again, but a bit differently.
Here are a few of my Mom’s favorite words and sayings.
“I don’t want to be an imposition.” I’ve never in my life heard another human being use the word “imposition”. I have no idea where she picked it up, but I imagine it’s something one of her abusive relatives said to her. This factored into our navigations a lot, like on MOTHER’S DAY when she wouldn’t let me buy her brunch. It was very awkward and embarrassing not only for me, but for the waiter who hadn’t a clue how to handle us.
“Well, Shit.” This one is funny. It must be a Southern thing since Leslie Jordan also was a fan of that phrase. Works in a lot of places!
“You should”. As in telling me how whatever it is I am doing isn’t the way SHE would do it.
“Most people” Another way of letting me know whatever I’m doing is out of acceptance to the rest of the world – and she should know! I had to ask her repeatedly, “Have you done a mass audience poll to get these facts?” No? Then stop saying it.
“Belligerent” Another word I never heard another human say. But it was a favorite part of her ‘rounds.
“I just wish you would GROW UP”
“Why can’t you BE NORMAL”
"You are an UNGRATEFUL daughter."
"What's WRONG with YOU?"
"You sound HATEFUL." This one really threw me off. What did I do that was so horrible? I called her on the phone first thing just after I woke up and was having my coffee. I guess I had “trucker voice” that day, but to her it sounded “hateful”. She kept me confused and off-balance on a daily basis.
"You have a CHIP on your shoulder."
I wonder why? [rolls eyes and shakes head]
"You act like you are mad at the world."
"You are RUINING my marriage."
"You are too sensitive."
"You take things the wrong way."
"Why can't you just let it go/roll off you, etc."
And if she couldn’t slander me, she tried slandering my pets:
"I don't want to eat your food because there might be a cat hair in it."
Besides being hurtful, she contradicted herself on this one when she would go to my cousin’s house and BEG their dog to SIT IN HER LAP, and with the dog running all through the kitchen had no issue whatsoever about eating their food. She would praise them all and glow about how great a cook he was. Until one day ……. All this time I thought her slander was only directed at me. But after their divorce, we were still asked over to the house (now the wife’s house) and we ate a glorious meal, that she seemed to devour with glee. Then we got in the car for me to drive her home and before we even got off their driveway she attacked his wife’s cooking! I couldn't believe it. This woman graciously invited you into her home – COOKED FOR YOU – and you slander her on her own property, you couldn’t even wait until we got home??? Unreal.
"No man will want you with all those cats."
Ah, the MEN slanders! Exactly what a young woman who HAS had ‘man problems’ needs to hear from her Mommie.
"If you would cut your hair maybe you could find a man."
"I hope you can meet a man that won't BEAT you."
And what she would say publicly to people:
"There will never be a man good enough for her. She wants George Clooney."
I guess she was embarrassed that I never “found a man”. I didn’t do what “most people” do; leave home at 18 for university; meet someone; marry after college; set up a house; have 2 children, a boy and a girl. So my failing to ‘get a man’ was answered by her idea that none of them were good enough for me. Well, she wasn’t half-wrong! -LOL. I went into the dating pool and came out with a very good joke, and it would make a great Country song: “It’s like fishin’ for bass in a catfish pond”!!!
Food slanders anyone???
"All coffee tastes the same."
This was during a drive to the Mall with both her and my Aunt (her sister). My life had been so boring that the only exciting thing I could think of to add to their conversations was of a new coffee I had tried. Actually, I was very proud of myself. I had joined a friend and his family in Louisville for a New Year’s Day lunch at a Vietnamese café where they served a coffee I had never seen before. It was delicious, so I asked them to write it down knowing I’d never remember or be able to pronounce it correctly. “Trung Nguyen Creative 1 Culi Robusta”. Yep, glad that’s on paper now! So I went on the hunt and found it! Sadly, THAT was my BIG NEWS of the New Year and the only thing I had to share with ‘the group’ of Mom and Aunt Jo, so I did. I sort of was expecting some enthusiasm from at least ONE of them, but no. All Mom did was burst my balloon with “All coffee tastes the same.” She didn’t add “to me”, or “to me, but I’m glad you found one you like”. No here comes the blanket statement that covers the entire world, and of course, SHE’S RIGHT. Well, Ma. Actually YOU AREN’T RIGHT. In fact “most” coffee tastes so different that there are coffee sommeliers that taste the differences just like in wine! And I could have gone on about how coffee DOES differ all over the world, but I wasn’t going to make that argument with her that day. EXHAUSTING.
“WHY are you shaking the milk? Don’t shake my milk.”
“ugh”. exasperated sigh.
The answer to your question, Mother, is that I drink plant milk and it SAYS ON THE BOTTLE to shake well. So when I come to your house and drink your crappy WalMart 2% cow’s milk, I still shake it in case there is separation. What I never got to ask her is “WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT TO YOU THAT YOU MUST INSIST I STOP???” Just another thing to pick on. It never ends.
“YOU RUINED MY DOOR”
This little ditty was on Christmas Eve, when I, instead of staying at work to sell Gift Certificates, I did as my Mother commanded and came to her home so we could be together the night before Christmas. Was I welcomed with “My Beloved Daughter, so glad you put aside your needs for mine and came to my home!” No. First thing, she’s at me. Mind you she smoked so her house reeked of that smell. So I go to my old room down the hall and put my luggage into the closet hopefully to hide my belongings from her tar and nicotine sludge (it didn’t work). It’s a bi-fold door. It has always come off the railings, as bi-fold doors will do. Mine at home does the same thing. This one in particular has done this for years. Nothing new to anyone who lived there. But for this day, this Christmas Eve day, it wasn’t a simple act of putting the door back on it’s rail, no, it was cause for RUINING her house: A DESTRUCTION OF EPIC PROPORTIONS, right? Not exactly the warm Hallmark welcome, is it.
"Why don't you want to be a part of this family?"
We covered this one last time!
This will need to be it’s own Blog entry! I did nothing but try ‘to be a part of this family’--HER family. A family I later realized never wanted me in it.
“Family” was her sister and her sister’s family: husband, son, and later wife and two kids.
MY FAMILY was My Mommie and my dear Granny. That’s it. The rest was a fabrication of my mother’s imagination. And one I’m still trying to heal from. But, I think I’m getting better at it. Sent the ghosts back to where they came from. Ta.
I wish these memories would go away. I wish I could fill my head and heart ONLY of ‘the good times’ – and there were good times, but there were so many more chaotic ones that the good ones get buried under the weight.
I’ll be in the kitchen – making coffee – and will get a flash, a memory of some ‘trauma’ (ok, a strong word. But in the house of bricks that each comment makes, they do add up to ‘trauma’), something she said that either hurt my “too sensitive” feelings, or was completely out of place, bursting my joy balloon, or just spun me off my center, keeping me unbalanced. Just the act of making coffee brings up TWO such memories. Now, I try to laugh at them. What else can I do? I’ve spent so much time ON HER--trying to understand her better so I could heal from it.
My equestrian friend does a ‘meditation’ every year where she sets one word for that year’s goals. Maybe one year it’s LEARNING so she is reminded to keep learning, studying, or taking examples from her life as a learning moments. Each year is a different word. So for 2022 my word is APPLAUSE. I use it in my healing process like this: When I am in my kitchen, Mom long since deceased, and one of her derogatory comments flashes through my soul again, I stop and give myself applause for whatever it was she was trying to deflate.
“I AM happy for myself for being introduced to a NEW taste in coffee. What a fun new adventure this is. Coffees from around the world, all available to me in my kitchen! And I LIKE shaking my milk! For one, it says to shake well on the bottle, and two, it creates a lovely foam like I’m having a European cappuccino! Yay for me and my exploratory nature! Keep seeking new things and enjoy them!!!”
Yeah, it’s A LOT of work creating the words they “should” of said. But someone’s gotta do it!
That current of criticism runs deep.
NOVEMBER 26, 2022
DECEMBER 30, 2022 – We are closing up this year getting ready for the next one two three!
As this year draws to a close, I can reflect back on my WORD of the Year – Applause – and administer some to MYSELF!
It has taken me a LONG TIME to get this far in my grief and dealing with life after Mom.
So APPLAUSE to ME for that! [insert hands clapping – MY hands clapping for me!]
The day before yesterday I had the car to myself (no dog in it) after having cleaned it out and filled up with hay, straw, and shavings prepping for the next bout of cold winter. So I figured, while the weather is calm and dry why not go over to W. (aka The GHOST Town) and remove the four wreaths from the graves and put them, not in MY office where I was going to but decided I didn’t want that reminder every time I went over there, but to Mom’s office instead. Simple enough, right? Wrong.
I did fine DOING it. Felt good about myself. Chatted to my dead relatives. Kissed Daddy and Mommie. Checked on Sue and O., who apparently never got any flowers or anything for Christmas, and I thought that was sad. But it was getting darker, so I didn’t go by Robbie & Dewey’s this time.
I was doing ok, so I took the interstate to the office and unloaded them … then hugged my Mommie’s coat – the same coat she wore during her doctor and hospital visits – the coat hangs on her chair at her office in the same spot where she commanded her world – and mine, too, I suppose.
Kissed her ‘Lancôme’ cheek, and said ‘Good-night’. AGAIN.
Did I take a swig of tequila whilst there? You bet I did.
And then I drove home thinking of how W. was HER town. Never mine. She and Ralph were part of that town. I was just the side-piece. Or find a better word. The side-car to her cycle. I was only there because SHE was there. My experiences, by and large, were HER experiences. Where ‘we’ lived - all her decision. HER houses. What ‘we’ ate, her decisions. Where and when we ate, her decisions. The Jackson House – her place (with me along for the ride, and I did love it there. The chocolate pies! They were little custard-sized pies and I still remember how delicious they were! We would sit at the counter and eat together as Mom happily chatted with the people who worked there, or came in a customers – she knew everybody in town!).
I told you I had a happy CHILDHOOD. It was only after our move to 21E and her marriage to Ralph when my happiness changed.
So there it is now, a town FULL of memories. Ghosts. The PAST.
Mom’s not coming back to work. Even though I could tell you exactly how her day would have gone had she been alive that day. She would have gotten up and already had her coffee made the night before – or rather she would set the timer so it would be ready for when she woke up.
She would put on her nylon nightgown robe [are you going to cry again typing this story out? Seems like it.] – it matches the nightgown she slept in, and was likely a Christmas present – one she picked out for us to go get for her! -lol. Step into her slippers and … I can hear that sound of her slippers on the carpet coming down the hallway … swhoosh, swhoosh, swhoosh … then pour herself a cup of coffee into either her blue and white Corelle cup or later the white larger mug she bought at WalMart which I am drinking from now – literally now. I also have coffee first thing in the morning. I think her brand was regular Folgers. I’m now into Nespresso! (A George Clooney company!)
She (also like me) tried to limit her sugar, so went through a fake sugar phase of whatever was on the market then. Splenda? Sweet-N-Low. Different ones as the markets changed. Ralph was big into those as sweeteners, too. So maybe she only bought them for him. She always kept a little Corelle sugar jar with a teeny spoon that I guess came with one of those sweeteners, “because you only need a little bit”.
Later down the road she would just skip the sweetener altogether. But she would put some milk in her coffee – a 2% WalMart milk – that I found disgusting. Still do. I remember the conversations she would have with various people, Aunt Jo in particular, where she would debate whether your milk should be 1%, 2%, or whole. They both agreed that whole milk was gross, but I think Aunt Jo preferred 1% and Mom would tell her she’s wrong because “1% just tastes like water to me”. Funny.
And, don’t forget, THE CIGARETTES. Ever present. And, yes, that was part of her morning routine, too. Bleck. Pukifying. Cigarettes and coffee.
Then maybe a slice of toast. One of her (and my) favorite breakfasts, that we had for decades until the manufacturer took it off the market – was toast and honeybutter! Man did we eat a lot of toast and honeybutter! First we put margarine on the bread, then honeybutter over that. It was yummy! She would typically get just the regular one, but sometimes come home with the cinnamon flavored one. And knowing what I know about food now, I bet it was some kind of fake lab cinnamon, but it was still tasty!
After breakfast she would take a shower and “get ready for work”. She would spend a lot of time doing her hair. (If you ever wondered where I got my inspiration for my career, this is where!). Aunt Jo spent a lot of time on her hair, too. Must be a generational thing. Hairdos were super important in the 1950’s, so I suppose they kept that going. (PS – as I’m writing this, I swear I can SMELL cinnamon honeybutter on toast!).
She had TONS of hair implements. Really. When I cleaned out her house (you know the thing it took me YEARS to accomplish by myself) I kept finding more and more of them. Hair curling irons of all sizes and textures. Anything sold by QVC as a miracle to hair! Anything she saw at WalMart. Just a collection of them. I’ll never get around to doing my Cosmetology Museum, but they need to go in one!
So, she’s dressed in her later style of jeans, turtleneck, and cable-knit sweater uniform, white sneakers in the oddest size of like a 10AAAA – that’s a Quad A – Long & NARROW – shoe. Hair done, and ready to exit into the world into her favorite car – The Cadillac! Later in life she started preferring a beige Lexus RX 350. She would buy a new one that looked exactly like the ‘old’ one and no one would know for months! I don’t know why she wanted to keep that a secret, but she apparently did. Maybe she told Aunt Jo or Jeff, but she never told me “I bought a new car!”. I don’t know why.
Thinking of her last years, after Ralph, when her daily life got VERY routine – she would get the mail, go to the bank, go to work, work for a bit, then possibly play golf with Patty E. (who is also deceased, sadly, too young – but at least managed to die AFTER Mom so Mom didn’t have to suffer another best friend death like her first one that happened right after DADDY’s death).
Or she and Aunt Jo would meet for lunch. Maybe at the W. Country Club, where Mom and Ralph were members – and she kept it going after he died. Or possibly G. – a place with the best sandwiches in town. Or Applebees. That was decent for a while. Until the night when she ordered French Onion Soup and they didn’t have any! This pissed me right off. We knew Mom was terminal at that point and if she wanted French Onion Soup YOU GIVE HER FRENCH ONION SOUP, DAMN IT! Restaurants need to think about that. This might be someone’s last meal request. KEEP YOUR FUCKING INVENTORY IN STOCK! Running out of soup is unforgivable. You’ll never see me in another Applebees ever again. (Plus, their food sucks, but that’s a different story.)
Or she would get a manicure or even a mani/pedi. CAJUN SHRIMP from OPI. Always remember the Cajun Shrimp nail polish!
Then – before dark – she would come home. So let’s say on this day, a winter day, it would be getting dark after 5:00, so as I was leaving her office I could imagine her back at home, TV on, cigarettes nearby with many ashes and stumps in her ashtray on the table by her chair or on the breakfast table, and she’s in the kitchen pouring her first of “two” (ha!) cheap-ass Chardonnays. Maybe eating a snack of crackers and cheese. Basic white saltines with also basic American cheese slices.
I’d call to check on her and we’d talk about nothing.
I miss those calls.
I miss my Mommie.
HOW DO YOU EVER ‘GET OVER’ THIS?
Eight years now. EIGHT years.
…. So, back to ME. Applause to me for getting this far. Applause to me for getting her house cleaned out, and getting it sold. Applause to me for managing this all on my own. No help from her ‘family’ (insert laughter here). None whatsoever. Not even a thank you when I gifted the hot sauces to my former cousin. NOTHING. But that’s too much to go into now. But, also something I’ve had to ‘process’ and ‘get over’. HA. What a joke. In so many ways. And not a good joke, either.
So while I am doing my task of honoring my father and mother (and Grandmother and Aunt and Uncle and so on) I think I’m holding up emotionally. Then I come home. I’m more irritable than usual – which is a lot because I’m highly irritable most days anyway. I’m screaming at traffic. I’m losing any patience I have left (and there’s not much left). Then ‘the voice says unto me’: “It’s because you were over there yesterday.” “It affects you like this every time you go there.” Is it the seeing my Mother’s GRAVE that does it? You betcha. Is it going into HER office and kissing HER coat and remembering her greasy Lancôme cheek that I would kiss goodnight when I slept over at her house. Yes. Yes, it is.
It rips me to shreds.
So. I’ve had to think about what I’m doing.
If putting wreaths on the graves of my dead relatives – the ones who made up my entire life so far – causes THIS MUCH torture in me, then WHY am I continuing to do it? Sure, I have the best intentions. I WANT to ‘do the right thing’. I am sad when I see graves without any remembrance flowers or wreaths, but would my mother want me to suffer like this? I don’t think so.
I got a bout of shingles again the day after I put the wreaths up. And the day after bringing them down I’m crying such deep painful tears … this isn’t good for me. At some point I have to stand up for myself and say “Sorry, I can’t do this anymore.”.
So what I’ve thought about doing is instead of an annual torturous trip to the cemetery in a town where I have too many bad memories, and all I get out of it is pain and suffering, even when I pretend I’m doing okay, I think I will write up a lovely note and have it engraved and put it by her grave as a perpetual plaque of remembrance. I will always love you. This is your Mother’s day bouquet and your Christmas wreath. I simply can’t torture myself anymore. She’s not there. I talk to her in spirit – not as a decaying body in a box.
Now I have to go take some lysine and shingles Rx so nothing breaks out again. Oh, and some cortisol calming stuff, too.
There has to be an ending to this story. Living the rest of my life in grief and the past isn’t healthy.
Help get me outta here.
December 30, 2022
The Blog says, "Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview." So what do I write?