Oh, yes, the parents

I received a mysterious text from my mother, though when I read it my assessment is that my stepfather likely typed it. It just doesn’t “sound” like her, and I’m pretty good at assessing things such as this.

Apparently they are going to be within 200 miles of me the first week of August for a memorial service for a family member whom I never met. I think it’s a great uncle. It looks like they want me to come see them when they are in the vicinity. I guess 200 miles is considered the vicinity when they are usually over 2,200 miles away.

For some reason I felt bad looking at that text, like I’m cruelly rejecting them. I consulted with my sister, Cate, and she advised not to go. She pointed out that they were never there for me when I needed them. She doesn’t have to worry about this as she lives clear across the country, nowhere near me. I know she’s right. Annoyingly, she is always right. It’s not that I want to see them, not at all. The guilt just sometimes haunts me, and I wish I could shake it.

In writing this post I’ve also realized that this text may be the reason I had such a hard time Sunday and parts of Monday. I received the text on Sunday, but promptly forgot about it. But I think others did not forget about it.

I take no pleasure in ignoring my mother and stepfather. But that’s how it has to be.

A Memorial Day for memories, but not the usual sort …

Today I found myself waiting for a cleaner I hired that never showed up, and that was just as well. I surprisingly felt okay, and I was able to do some cleaning myself without getting too freaked out in my apartment. That was one reason I hired a cleaner, so that things could get done in my apartment that were being neglected because of my inability to spend long periods of time in my place.

But today was different, and I can’t figure out why, though I am not complaining. I started cleaning off my coffee table while I was waiting for the cleaner. Before I knew it I realized he wasn’t coming, but I was on a roll. So, I cleaned it off. It took a while, but I did it. And here it is …

coffee table

I even used the vacuum! Although it took a while to achieve such a small task of cleaning off a coffee table and vacuuming I still felt accomplished. And I felt that way because I did not freak out. I did not start getting anxious and scared and depressed in my place. I did not feel like dying, and the thoughts I used to get from Belle about death were not there. And thanks be to God for that.

It was still a hard day, and I certainly felt sadness. The difference was that it did not feel like the end of the world. The book you see on the coffee table is a poetry chapbook that my long-lost father sent me back in 2008 when we briefly reconnected. We could not maintain the connection because his active alcoholism was too much. I called him on Father’s Day that year, and became upset at hearing my father drunk on the phone. I just could not maintain a connection under such unpredictable circumstances, never knowing when he would be sober. I found that book of poetry while I was cleaning. It took my breath away. I realized that when I received it back in 2008 I had not paid much attention to it because I was still mad at him for being drunk on Father’s Day that same year in 2008. The book, braille for the heart, is a chapbook of poetry by Robert Vasquez.

poetry

And for the first time since I received the book I picked it up and looked at it. I really looked at it. For the first time ever I looked at it without anger. As I started flipping through it I found a page that he had bookmarked with a metal bookmark. I always thought it was just randomly put there. I had never really looked at what he had bookmarked until today. Here is what I found.

POEM

He underlined the last line, “Music is braille for the heart.” It just takes my breath away to see this because the underlining was meant for me, at least I presume it was. I miss him, but I don’t like thinking about how much I miss him because the pain is a huge hole in my heart. The pain of knowing that he’s been walking dead to me for decades. The alcoholism took him from me, and will likely keep him from me for the rest of our days. He is the only person on this earth who truly gets me. Case in point, he sent me a chapbook of Latino poetry without knowing how much I love poetry. I know he sent it because he connected with the chapbook. But the truth is that I’ve loved poetry since I was a child. And though he was not around when I fell in love with poetry I know that he knows because he’s the only one that knows me. And the only one that knows me is without reach. I cannot talk to him about life, or any of the challenges or accomplishments I’ve had. If I could talk to him I know he would relate to so much of it. Hell, we’re both even alcoholics. I was more like him than I wanted to be.

Oh, I miss him so. There is so much loss here that it is just hardly palpable, especially since the loss of him left me with my mother. The irony is in the fact that he’s the parent that really loved me, but his alcoholism kept us apart. This one gift from my actively alcoholic father is light years beyond anything my mother has ever given me. She may have been present, but she never had the capacity for love. It is simply not within her. Yet, she is the parent I got to be with, the one who could not love. The one who could love was and is too sick. He is sick, but I still love him, and always will.

I hate Mother’s Day

Of course, given that today is Mother’s Day, I’ve been thinking about the fact that my mother is out of my life. It does not escape me that many of us on here struggle with PTSD or DID as a result of our childhood experiences with our mothers. I’m also certain that many of you, like me, have dreaded this day, especially when you look at your Facebook newsfeed and you see all of these lovely status updates about loving mom, having a great mom, missing a dearly departed mom, etc. This feels like the only place in the universe where I can say that I unequivocally HATE mother’s day.

Saying that you hate mother’s day is like saying you hate puppies or world peace. It’s simply a socially unacceptable thing to admit or talk about in any form where you are not anonymous. Yet, we know that there are children out there, too many children, that are taken from their parents because of abusive situations. We’ve all read stories of mothers killing their children. Then there are the countless other children that go unnoticed and reach adulthood with a terrorizing mother. For all of these children, I weep. I weep because a mother is such a fundamental part of life. We can only come into this life with a mother, but not all of those mothers are up to the task. And there is no rhyme or reason as to which of us in this life are blessed with a kind mother, and which of us are not.

On this day I reflect on how I learned not to ask for my mother for a hug, and how I was not one of the kids who would cry for her mommy. I would cry because I was sad or scared, but I did not want my mother. She was never a source of comfort. There was never that quintessential mother/daughter embrace where you feel that mother/daughter love.

Today my mother is out of my life, and has been since 2006. Unfortunately, life is more peaceful without my mother in my life. Regardless of everything that has happened between me and my mother I only want peace for her. When she does pass away I think that I’ll likely feel the same way I feel on Mother’s day, sadness for the mother I never had.

It’s refreshing to come on here and say that, yes, my mother is still alive. No, I have no contact with her. And, yes, I am very okay with that. No, I will not regret that when she dies. I only regret I did not do it sooner. No, I do not love my mother. I do not hate her either. She is just a person I have to contend with in my life. I wish her no ill will. I only wish that I continue to not see her for the rest of my days on this earth. Life is too short to share with hateful, narcissistic and vindictive people. My mother, unfortunately, falls in this category.

Eternal love goes out to all of you out there that did not have the mother you needed. Listen to me when I say that it is not a reflection of your worth. Don’t let a less than loving mother determine your worth in this life.