Why, Mom?!

Mom, if I could ask you just one question right now, it would be “Why?”.

Why were you so mean to me? Why did you consistently tell me and act like you didn’t love me? Why did you always throw in my face the lie that I was an argument that dad won.

It’s the week of my wedding anniversary…and this is probably the most difficult time of year for me. Perhaps, it was unreasonable of me to expect one occassion in my life to be an opportunity for you to make all the past hurts better. But you did not show the slightest interest in any of the wedding planning, until everything was organized. I had to beg you to come and shop for wedding dress fabric with me and R’s mom. ¬†And even then you acted like it was a chore.

I know you were not a mean or vindictive or generally horrible person. So why were you all of those things to me?

And I know that I am not a bad or horrible person, so why did you send me emails telling me that I was.

I know that you had other drama with your extended family around my wedding…but you never told me this. And quite frankly, it shouldn’t have mattered. I am your daughter. Surely that should have counted as a trump card…as a reason to pay a little bit of attention to me.

At my bachelorette party you did not even greet me?! So yes, I guess I am still carrying a lot of hurt and pain around from this occassion…and maybe it was unfair for me to expect you to make me feel special around my wedding day, you had never managed it before, and perhaps you choked under pressure.

But dammit mom, I wish I could remember feeling that you loved me…and not just read the words in a card. Because those words feel like a lie when I remember these things.

And maybe I shouldn’t write this to you…but if I don’t let it out, I think it will eat at my soul. I know I will never know why.

I can hope and rely on other people’s recollections and words that you did love me…and that you were proud of me. But dammit Mom, I wish you had shown me that when I was alive.

I know we had a difficult relationship. I also know that L managed to worm her way into your life and spread her venom and was a bad influence in you sending those poisonous emails, but you were an adult, and did have control over your actions, and you chose to press send.

I know you never understood the way I pulled back and never truly let you back into my life after that, because for you it was an isolated event. But for me, it was more…I needed you to show me that I could trust you. And now you can’t.

You also can’t tell me why! But perhaps that is a blessing…it means that I can choose to see the best in you, recognize the influences of operant conditioning and believe that you did love me. You just didn’t know how to show it.

Forgiveness

One of the things that people keep telling me is that any wrong that I did towards my mom has been forgiven on her death. And part of me wants to scream at them: BUT HOW DO I FORGIVE HER?

How do I let go of all of the hurts and wounds that she inflicted on me. And some of the things that my mom did were pretty terrible.

I don’t know how to just let go of that hurt…and it is not exactly something that I am going to discuss with my family at the moment.

My mom was a good woman…she also abused me. People are like that, more than a single thing…more nuanced than we can ever begin to express or understand.

I don’t want to carry around this burden of anger and hurt…but I don’t know how to just let it go.

Soundtrack to this post: Metallica, “The Unforgiven”

 

Unexpected death.

My mother died today.

Unexpectedly…she just dropped dead in the bank from a heart attack.

And I am sad that she has gone and I hope she has found peace. I am glad that our last conversation on Sunday was pleasant, even if it was about superficial things.

I am glad that I have not allowed myself to hate her, to be nervous and stressed about interacting with her and trying to figure out the dance of balance.

But I am glad that I let her love me as best as she could…and that I loved her back.

What I Missed: Having someone who has got my back

It’s the little things that I missed out on growing up that bite at me and hurt me the most.

Knowing, for certain, that there was someone there who absolutely, without a doubt, was on my side.Not necessarily agreeing with everything that I say or do but caring and looking out for me.

Someone who let me know that I was unconditionally loved. There were people in my life who did, but I was kept away from them. Made to believe that love was based on what I did and how I compared. And to know that no matter what I would always be second best, and never good enough.

Knowing that I would be disbelieved and was unworthy until I could prove otherwise.

I’m a mess at the moment because of it…and yet I am still running away from these memories and hurts. The ones that are in the corner of my mind’s eye.

I am feeling the effects of them at the moment, crying the tears that I suppressed so many years ago…but I cannot recall any detail…and with most of them there is just a shadow of a glimpse of them, one that I sometimes catch out of the corner of my mind’s eye.

It’s terrifying and exhausting…but cathartic too…crying for “no reason”. Tears washing my soul.

But sometimes still I catch myself denying the reality of what I grew up with. And I know that it is a coping mechanism, one that I developed so many years ago, and simultaneously conditioned into me that with absolute certainty I would tell you I was not abused or hurting.

I am letting myself feel the hurt now and taking it from there.

Hiding

I am angry and frustrated.

I do not know whether it is with myself or with my mother. Or with both of us. There is a memory hovering in the back of mind. Triggered by an anxiety attack when I first began to descend on my open water dive.

Triggered by the smell of dishwashing soap. A memory that made me feel unloved and unworthy and scared that I was about to die.

A memory of not being safe.

A memory that opened me up to being raw enough to cry on a stranger’s shoulder. And yet I do not remember it.

I feel like I cannot confront it. I cannot face myself. So I hide. I snap at the person I love the most and I hide.

And I hate myself for being so weak.

Telling

I told someone who knows me well that I was abused today and the world did not fall apart. I was not called crazy or disbelieved. It’s an amazing and weird event. Rationally, I know that the lies I have been conditioned to believe…that I am crazy, that no one will believe me are lies. But living the reality…absolutely indescribably wonderful.

She can’t love me

At the beginning of 2009 my mother called my husband and asked that we come over. And in the conversation she asked “That I forgive her for all that she has done and all that she has failed to do”.

This is a ritualistic formula in the Catholic church when you ask for forgiveness and to which I gave the customary reply of yes I forgive you.

I have been thinking about it a lot lately, my mother did not change her behavior afterwards and did not even acknowledge what she did wrong.

The truth is I don’t think that I will be ever able to make up with my mother, she will never be the mother that I wanted.

She is incapable of loving me…and that realization hurts. How do you deal with a mother incapable of love…and recognize the losses that you endured…the birthday cakes never baked…kindness never given?