Unfortunately, I'm kind of familiar with my step-father’s brand of terrorizing people and thought I might be of some assistance. Being financially solvent for the first time in my fifty years of life, I thought perhaps I could chip in and help her find a place to live and also offer her some pocket money. Those were the things I really wanted to help with.
Thinking of all of this I can’t help but flashback to when I was fifteen-years-old. No one was there to help me when my stepfather sent me barefooted and coatless out into the world. The reality is that he took my suitcase from me as I left my home, and took out anything he might have bought for me. Nice, huh?
So now what to do about Mothers day? I really didn't want a repeat of my happy birthday call that really made my 50th birthday so memorable. All I could think of doing was send a card. The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to find a Mothers Day card for a woman who just sat there and let her husband do what he did to her daughter. A woman who for the last thirty-five-years has told me she would love to call me regularly, but that my step father wouldn't allow her to. I often wondered why she just didn’t buy herself a phone card or go to a phone booth to make a call to say hi. I offered to send her a card more than once.
When I was in my twenties I was pretty stable. From the ages of nineteen to twenty-four, I lived in the same place and had the same phone number. During that time period I used to make up reasons to call her. I would call to ask, “How do you make this, Mom?”, “What should I do, Mom?”, etc. I didn't really need her input, I just needed her to be my mother. I did this hoping to open up the lines of communication.
So how do you find a Mother’s Day cards for the mother who didn't love you? Every card I could find , goes on and on about “how the mother ‘was there for you' and 'always made you laugh'”. They all speak of unquestionable love and maternal passions.
What card do you send to a mother who let her husband throw-out her fifteen-year-old daughter?
My sister ran away right after my step-father made sexual advances towards her.
My mother would make my step-father leave my room when he insisted on tucking me in at night. She knew he would make me feel very uncomfortable when he did. There is more, but not worth going into. You don't need to know it all.
Skip ahead to high school. One day my step-father told my mother that he was going for a walk around the block, and when he returned he expected an answer from her. My mother had to choose between me and him. Then he walked out the door.
My mother sat there crying . . . just looking at me with eyes leaking tears. She didn't want to be put into this position.
At the age of fifteen, I made her decision for her and decided I would leave. Just at that moment my stepfather walked in the house. He saw me packing my suitcase and took out everything he ever bought me.
When my mother and I spoke on my fiftieth birthday, she told me that none of that had ever happened. That my step-father never threw me out. This was an event that is burnt into my brain. It was the turning point of my life.
I’ll admit that it is easy for me to make excuses for my mother. I can understand that guilt, depression or whatever emotion it took -- managed to wipe this memory from my mother’s brain. I get why people do that. Unfortunately, I've never been blessed with that ability. I remember being raped shortly after I left my parent home when I was fifteen. I remember it vividly.
I remember the beatings from both Bruce and David, who were my 'boyfriends' after leaving home. Some things just plain stick with you no matter what you do. They call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The incident will replay as long as you live as clearly as it was a minute ago. Nothing changes. It is the same memory over and over. The same startling nightmares week after year -- it doesn't change, ever! It can't, it’s replaying because my brain can't wrap around the realities I've endured. My mind is still trying to find a way to rationalize irrationalities. This will continue until I can understand the things I've been through and let go. It will continue. And it does.
I guess it's time for me to finally live my own life. This year I only sent the Mother’s Day card. No flowers. No phone call. The impersonal piece of paper seems to be what might make her happy, so that's what I did. There are no pictures of me growing up. The old report cards have all been thrown away, everything from my childhood gone!
Twenty years ago I visited my mother while she was still living in Illinois. I remember her answering her telephone in the laundry room downstairs. I was speaking to a woman who claimed to be my mother’s 'best friend'. I’ll never forget the woman’s shock when she learned my mother had two children. The woman only knew about my older sister. She never knew about me.
I can’t help but wonder why have I continued to try to communicate with my mother and older sister for the last 35 years? It pains my heart thinking about how close the three of us were growing up. Those were the days it was us three against the world. It's time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. There is no room in their lives for me. It hurts so badly. I didn't leave my mother’s home because I wanted to. I left because I felt as if there was no alternatives. I could not stay in the hell that was her husband's life and keep my sanity.
My mother’s words play over and over in my head. She told me she 'did the best with what she had'.
What she had? What she had was ME. It's not about a house or money, she was talking about me! She did the best she could with the inferior product that was me. She still despises my real Father. She has been unable to let go of old hurts, unable completely. Unwilling I should say. Gee we are a bit alike, but with me I have no choice. Something has short circuited in my brain. With her, she simply re-writes history and tells me things didn't even happen. They didn't according to her selective memory.
While I was in my twenties, I cried for about a year. I can't remember the exact time, but I've already mourned the loss of my Mother. It's something you don't get over. You'll always miss your mother. I'm just going to keep keeping on missing a woman that never actually existed.
It’s time for me to grow up. I am fifty-years-old now. I need to face reality. My family has gone on without me and does not want me to be a part of it.