Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dear Mom

It has taken me 49 years to begin to know you.  After Grandma died, no one wanted to talk about you.  When they did, I heard a lot of generalizations, but when I asked for examples, they could give me no stories.  You were smart.  You were naive.  You were quiet.  It didn't quite fit with the description of drug user, promiscuous, and irresponsible, but those were also words that were used.  I never stopped loving you.  Grandma told me to never stop loving you and I listened.

In the summer of 1965, you had an affair with a married man.  He didn't love you, but you loved him.  The evidence supports what M told me.  You kept his name a secret because you didn't want to ruin his life.  You loved him enough to let him go.  You loved him enough to bear the brunt of your punishment alone.  In all honesty, you could have had an abortion in secret, and saved yourself so much scorn.  You were in the center of where girls in trouble went to rid themselves of their problems.  You didn't.

In March of 1966 you walked into a hospital, had a baby, and walked out of a hospital as the "sister" of that child.  This is how things were done back then.  You had no husband.  You had no means of support to take care of a child.  Your choices were to give me to strangers or give me to your family. I understand why you made the choices you made.  You didn't leave the option of getting the paternity test L requested.  Instead, you kept me close, endured the shame and let them make assumptions about you.  Thank you.

You worked in a mental hospital, taking care of retarded people.  According to M, you loved them.  You were kind to them.  You had compassion.  Some of the family insinuated that you just left me for your parents to take up the slack.  M says you tried to come see me, but the tension was so thick that all you did was fight with your parents when you visited and they made it impossible for you to have any peace to just see your child.  That's when you got a promotion that took you to Salem so you could afford to come back to get me when the time was right.  That time never came.

The word on the street is that you died in a ministers home.  He was not a real minister.  He was one of those "quack" ministers.  He was probably a drug dealer.  I haven't found him. As I sift through the facts, I notice these street words have little validity.   I also haven't found the young boy (at the time) that killed you.  I know his name and I google him every so often.  If I do, I will tell him that I forgive him.  It was an accident and if you loved him, so do I.

I have missed you so much...

I lost a baby in 1986.  He was a boy.  I would have named him Corey James after my pretend husband when I played Barbies.  I wanted to die.  I wanted to be where the only two mothers I ever had were.  The Army gave me 30 days to suck it up and get back in uniform.  I spent the first few days talking to you in my head, because I knew God hated me and even Jesus couldn't help me.  After that I went to the bar and stayed drunk for about a year, except when I was on duty, of course.

I think that is when I stopped believing you were a person with zero ability to make a good decision.  You made some very understandable decisions.  To be pregnant one day and have nothing to show for it the next is the worst feeling I have ever encountered.    You kept trying.  You tried until you died.  So I kept trying and will continue to try until I die.

So if you are watching, don't worry about me.  I got this.  I am not going to hurt L and I am not going to hurt his family.  He got his paternity test he asked for and he didn't have to bother with me while he saved his marriage and his family.  I just might get my feelings hurt, but I have been there and done that before.  I learned how to recuperate minus the alcohol.  I know you tried to save me from the pain, and I appreciate it.  Half of me is you.  Remember that, if I ever frustrate you.  All my life I have been told "Like mother, like daughter"  They might have said that in scorn, but I wear it in pride.  If you ever want to talk... just ring me in my head.



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