Okay, this is going to be hard. The mere thought of delving into the issues I carry regarding mom has my heart rate increasing and tears stinging my eyes.
Mom why couldn't you just love me?
Yes I felt unloved and unwanted. From the very beginning I felt your struggle to accept me. I was Daddy's choice in a child not yours.
I know you did your best, I know marriage and children were not your choice. I know you sacrificed your "calling" to be a Nun because your mother wanted you to have a family and give her grandchildren. I know you gave up a promising acting/modeling career and the acceptance into the Royal Conservatory of Music because it is what your husband wanted. I know all this because you never let me forget it. Just as you never let me forget I was a "chosen child".
There, now that is out in the open.
Well it has been several hours since I dropped that bomb on myself. The physical pain that followed the opening of that wound was very noticeable. My chest was tight and my head started to pound. I made the decision to not continue until after I had taken my bed time medications, knowing full well the Seroquel would ease the anxiety and make it far more manageable.
I took the time to clear the days clutter from the kitchen and made sure the house was straightened.
I have a candle lit to bring in the white light and illuminate the darkness that I feel slowly creeping into me. I also lit a candle in memory of my mother and father. They raised me the only way they knew how and I bear them no ill will for the issues I carry.
This may be a long and sleepless night, but I have to continue. I must release the anger and frustration, the hurt and the anguish.
The mother who raised me was gifted not only with a phenomenal singing voice but also with beauty. Mother was the trophy on my father's arm and I was the accessory.
The night my mother passed away I knew before the phone call that she had died. It was Christmas Eve 2006. I had been watching some silly Christmas program and got the urge to walk out onto my balcony. It had just started to snow and the world seemed to be holding it's breath. In my head I could hear a choir singing "Ave Maria" and softly I joined in. When the choir stopped I drew a deep breath and said, "good bye Mom".
It wasn't until Christmas morning that the brother I have hated for his lifetime called and confirmed what I already knew.
Every Christmas I can remember prior to mother's dementia, she had sang "Ave Maria" at the midnight Mass.
My first real memories of mom seem to start when my father was absent. Late at night I would reach my arm through the crib sides and ask her to hold my hand. Or after dad had left for work in the early morning and I would crawl into the big bed with her and trace things on her back while she attempted to get more sleep.
I remember losing mom in a department store, all the ladies legs looked the same, I was terrified, a kind man took my hand and held it tight until my mother was located.
I lost her in a park once, we had been with a friend of my mother's and the friends children. The geese were squawking and flapping their wings at me. A uniform arm scooped me up and a gentle voice calmed me. My mother was located just as I finished the ice cream cone I had been given. The first thing she did was wipe my mouth and comment on the mess on my dress.
And then there was the time she spanked me. I had been playing with a boy from next door, he showed me how to gather tulips and I thought I would pick a bunch for mom. The tulips were not in our garden and my little hands had been snapping the flower tops off and not taking the stem. I presented mom with the mass of petals. Mom said I was to go to my room and would be getting spanked. I remember very clearly offering to do it myself as she had said it was going to hurt her more than it was going to hurt me. Twenty odd years later she apologized for the spanking and admitted it wasn't my fault but she had to do something to punish me as the neighbour had brought my flower picking to mom's attention.
I learned at five years old how to travel alone on public transit. mother had her hands full with an infant. I remember one time being late getting home from school and mother being furious with me. The conductor put me off the bus for not having a ticket, I had eaten it. I had been so nervous I had started chewing bits off the ticket until it was gone. It was a long walk home alone.
Being left alone is a common thread that weaves through my childhood. Mother took a sewing class one night a week and usually waited until I was asleep before she crossed the street to the school where it was held. I would get up in the darkness and sit in a chair by the window and watch the school doors waiting for her to return.
On another occasion, after a move, I was told to meet mother at the school gates and she would show me how to get home. I waited until the sun started setting. Then I made the long walk back to the neighbourhood we had moved from, I had not been given money for buss fare, and asked an old neighbour to call my Dad. They were kind enough to feed me and drive me home. I walked into an argument between my parents and mom sent me to my room. There were no hugs, no apologies, just loud voices.
Before I was nine I had many arguments with my mother regarding my house work load. I would repeatedly tell her she hadn't wanted a daughter but an unpaid maid. This statement would continue until I finally left the house at 17.
Mother ignored most of my plights. I was thrown from a horse and lost consciousness, a half inch dent was left in my riding helmet but I was still expected to get the buss home. A doctor was not consulted and years later the deviation in my neck was discovered.
I suffered a knee injury skating and because I was able to walk home nothing more was thought of it. The surgery to repair my knee was done 10 years after the fact.
The only reason mother took me to see a doctor when I torn my Achilles tendons was because I couldn't walk to get to school and out of her sight.
The onset of Addisons disease was missed because my mother figured I would outgrow the problems I was displaying.
It didn't seem to matter that the only person available to watch me one day might have tuberculosis. I test positive for the disease but that could also be attributed to the serum that was used in England when I was young.
I have memories of being lowered into ice baths, kept in a dark room and seeing a Matron at my bedside feeding me gelatin and telling me it was going to be okay. But I have no memory of mom being there.
The day I had an abscessed tooth pulled I screamed for my mother who was in the waiting room, she never came and the dentist slapped me for making so much noise.
Mother never remembered my birthday. Christmas presents would be somehow forgotten until after the boys had opened theirs. Then mother would recall some gifts that were in a closet.
After my father had left, mother gave away all my things while I was camping with friends. I had to go to the family and beg for three items to be returned. I was not allowed to ask for the custom made dollhouse my father had given me.
I can still feel the sense of abandonment I felt upon returning home after two months away at school to find the house empty not just of people but of furnishings and the door locked.
In 1972 I got off a plane from France and rushed through customs to see my family. There was no one there to greet me. The disappointment is still as strong today as it was then. I waited just as I had as a small child until everyone else had left, but no one came for me. I called "home" and mom answered " oh I have company".
Mother always put other people before her family, or at least before me. This was also one of my father's complaints. Heck she was even late for my first wedding because she had promised to do someone a favour.
To my mother I was a pay check. She insisted I stay in school because Father gave her money as long as I was attending not because it was the best thing for me. More than once I would go to my bank where she was a teller , to find my bank account had somehow been depleted. I changed banks, then the phone calls started, not to see how I was doing but because she needed money.
When I got a rather large twenty first birthday present from my father, mother used guilt to get the bulk of it. Mother felt it was owed to her because father had not given her a larger amount in child care.
It is no wonder I had no respect for her, she had no respect for me.
It wasn't until I took a co-dependant workshop that I realized how very toxic my relationship with my mother was. I kept holding onto the hope she would finally see me as a person and not as the person who ruined her life.
I returned to Canada after my second husband died to be near my family. I did so at the request of my youngest brother as he saw mother going down hill. I had attempted to get her mental health help years before on multiple occasions. I had witnessed at least one nervous breakdown. Mother's doctor told her that I was trying to have her committed. ( I only wanted a public trustee to handle her affairs.)
Sadly I was too late, and she was going through the onset of dementia. Mother had no idea who I was. The woman who had ignored me for years was taking the last steps in removing me from her memory.
I saw mother a few times before getting her into a care facility and spoke to her on the phone. She thought I was a friend of the family. On one occasion when she was talking to my youngest brother he asked her if she wanted to talk to her daughter, she said "wait a minute I will get her for you" and put my ex-sister-in-law on the phone.
On Mother's Day 2006 while I was talking to her on the phone, she lost the ability to communicate. Mom's voice became silent.
On the Christmas Day after her passing I called my youngest brother, mother's only natural son, to offer him support. He said "tell me something funny about her so I can laugh".
My reply " who but our mother could upstage her Lord on His Birthday?"
In working on my mother issues I recognize there is much more I need to do. But the hour is late and I need sleep. I also need to digest some of the feelings that writing this blog has brought up.