This day rolls around every year and every year it is a sad day. This year was different, I second guessed myself. I couldn’t remember if my mother’s birthday was the 23rd or 24th of June. This realization almost made the pain feel ten times worse. I am starting to forget her. She has not been a part of my life for so long that she is starting to fade from my memory.
It wasn’t always like this. Growing up I remember having a great mom. She spoiled me and I was her baby girl. I have 2 older brothers, so I was the golden child. My parents tried one more time for a girl and they got me! I had a decked out purple room with a unicorn canopy bed. I had the cutest outfits and bows in my hair. I was her little princess.
Most of those good and happy memories came to a halt around the time I turned 14 and my parents got divorced. I feel like that is when I truly lost her. That is when the mother I knew and loved slowly started dying. It was a slow fade. It was a painful and prolonged death that hung around for years, until one day she was finally gone. There was no casket or funeral; there wasn’t a time for me to mourn the loss of my mother while being surrounded by the people that loved me. There wasn’t an obituary reflecting back on what a great woman she was, but by all other definitions she was dead. She is removed from my life and everyday it feels like I suffered the death of my mother even though she is still on this earth. Now as the years continue to go by, the good memories have faded away while all the bad ones continue to stick around.
I am not sure what my mother does on a day to day basis. I don’t know if she has new hobbies, or if she has cut her hair. I don’t know what her favorite food is or what her favorite TV show is that she watches every week. I am even forgetting what her voice sounds like. I no longer know my mother and she no longer knows me. Even though her blood flows through my veins, we are strangers.
When I was around 15, I found a journal that my mother had written. It was saved on the hard drive of an old word processor we had. Computers were a new concept to us and she was unaware that she needed to save it to a floppy disk and then hide the floppy disk in her underwear drawer if she wanted to keep what she had written private and safe from wandering eyes. So here it was, staring right at me in the face. My conscious was battling with me back and forth, “read it!”, “don’t do it she will find out”. Part of me was scared to find out exactly what was written. It was an intimate look into my mother’s heart and I honestly wasn’t sure if I was prepared to know her that deeply.
Growing up I always knew there was a secret to my mother’s life that she never really shared with her kids. I know now that many of her reasons for not sharing were to protect us from the hurt and pain that she felt. I knew whatever this secret was, that my Dad knew of it. It was still kept hush hush and it was something that never got talked about in our family. That day in front of the computer, I walked through the open door of my mother’s heart that was full of secrets and it changed me forever. I had moments while I read through it where I thought, “Now everything makes sense”. I never told my mother what I read that day. To this day she is not aware of what I know (unless by some chance she stumbles across this blog). I walked away from the computer that day and never once brought it up or mentioned it to anyone until now. It wasn’t until about 9 years ago that I began to realize that all that information I read as a child may have had a purpose. It made me understand why my mother behaves the way she does and the broken pattern of relationships that hover over her life on a constant basis.
My mother’s heart and brain has been severely injured and she never healed previous injuries (that stem back as far as her childhood) before facing another one. I believe this is what caused a mental illness. She will fight tooth and nail and deny that she suffers from a mental illness (BPD) and this hurts because she is truly walking around and taking down victims with every hurtful and toxic thing she does to the people who love her. But we are seen as her enemies, she sees that the problem lies with everyone else. I wish my mother would go to the doctor and seriously consider what many of us who love her have pointed out. But she refuses. She will cast us out and move onto the next person, the next victim.
The woman who once laughed with me and went shopping with me and dressed me up in pretty dresses and bows and dreamed of shopping for wedding dresses with, simply doesn’t exist anymore. My love for her was strong and sometimes I like to imagine that at some point her love for me was strong too. But right now her mental illness is stronger. And it has taken my mother’s soul.
Here I am many years later and she still has the power to make me cry. It still affects my life. I used to think of her every day, but now the days grow longer in between the times she crosses my mind. I am healing and I am getting used to a mother who is incapable of loving her daughter and grandkids.
I kept her around for so long, desperately trying to help her. I took the pain, hurt and evil words. My skin got thick because my love for her was stronger than this illness that was prying her away from me. But one day I woke up and realized that what she was doing was abuse and even though I didn’t have the black eye and bruises to prove it, she was injuring my heart and brain and I refused to let what happened to her happen to me. It was difficult to let go of someone I loved so dearly, but now that many years have passed I can honestly say that I am a happier and healthier person without her in my life.
If I can thank my mother for anything it is that she gave me the motivation to live and pursue a life contrary to hers. This year on Mother’s Day, I revealed the secrets of my heart to my two children. Mother’s Day has always been a hard day for me. I love being a mom, but the hurt of not having a mother who loves me always finds a way to cast a dark shadow on that day. The pain became too great and in my face that I decided several years ago that I would not attend church or be on facebook on Mother’s Day. Seeing dynamic and loving mother and daughter duos was a pain too great for me to bear, so I decided to avoid it in the most practical way I knew.
My husband came into my life when I was 16 and he has always supported me and has been my rock for me through the loss of my mother. This year on the night before Mother’s Day, I was saying goodnight to my kids; they were camped out on the floor in the living room. I told them to get rest that “they” have church in the morning. They asked if I was going and I gently replied, “Nope, not this week”. They knew this was unusual and there on the floor with my kids, I felt my heart tugging. I have protected them for so long about the hurt and disappearance of their grandma. She left our life when my son was 5 and my daughter was 3. They have some memories of her, but have never really asked why we don’t see her anymore. My kids are now 13 and 11. I realized that I want my kids to know me, I don’t want to carry around this secret from them that they will read about on this blog years from now and have the same moment I had, thinking “now it all makes sense”.
I bared my heart to them on the floor that night. I explained how grandma’s past has hurt and injured her so much that now she is incapable of loving. I told them why I don’t go to church on mother’s day; I told them how my heart still breaks that I don’t have a momma that loves me.
I was laying there with my head on my son’s lap and he brushed my hair and forehead with his hand while I shared my heart and I felt a little bit of the pain wash away and leave my body. They knew me; they understood that part of my heart. My daughter laid there next to me crying. When she started crying, I panicked, “maybe I shouldn’t have told them?” But then I realized that all she was doing is what I have already been doing for many years. She laid there and mourned the loss of her grandma and I held her and we cried together.
They took everything I said that night and processed it in their own minds and hearts and in the following days, out of the blue they would ask me a question about grandma. My son asked, if we were to see her somewhere again would she talk to us or ignore us? And my daughter asked, if grandma doesn’t love you, does that mean she doesn’t love us? These questions pierced my heart as I knew they were processing the hurt and loss of someone they haven’t even had a chance to fully know.
We prayed together that night. We prayed for my mother and for their grandma. We prayed that whatever she is doing that she could find happiness. We prayed for healing. We prayed for love.
I am a 30 something year old single mom of two. I have a 16 year old son and an 14 year old daughter. They are keeping me busy and on my toes in this new phase I call "Teenagedom".
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