I never thought I’d write a blog about my mother, but this week’s WordPress Discovery topic, “The Things We Leave Behind”, was the second instance that brought her to mind in the last twenty-four hours, so I will. She’s been a part of my journey of self discovery this past year, as I worked to come to terms with my past pain.
Mother died in May of 2014 at the age of 84. I hadn’t seen her since 1972, when I was twenty years old.
My mother played a huge part in making me the person I am today. She helped create a loving, caring, compassionate, giving person. She taught me these lessons as I strove to be anything, anybody but her. She was a violent, angry person as far as her children were concerned, taking every opportunity to belittle and degrade us, to beat us. To the outside world she could be a charming person, as long as you didn’t cross an invisible line. Then you’d feel her sting, like a scorpion’s tail.
She was mentally ill, I’m sure of that. We didn’t talk about such things when I was growing up back in the 60s. She was never diagnosed, never treated. I don’t know what the diagnosis would have been. Paranoia? Narcissism? Definitely. Sociopathy? Maybe. Nothing existed but her and what she wanted. Nothing.
When I was old enough to escape, I left and never came back. It was an act of survival. I was hell bent on self-destruction in those days, and I would have left this world, another death by suicide, if I had to stay near her.
But I left and found my way, found wonderful people to mentor me and help me heal. People who showed me that reaching out to others in compassion is how I should be living my life.
I’ll never have the answers to the mystery of my mother. Was she ill because of a chemical imbalance, an old brain injury, or was her approach to life the result of some deeply seated trauma from which she never escaped, and which she passed on to us, her children?
Mother is part of the letting go I’ve done this past year. I’m able to talk about her now without a catch in my voice, or a twisting pain in my stomach. It took a lot, though, to look at her final picture as I was writing this blog, but when I did that, I found that I had left her behind. Calm. Stillness. Finality.
Rest in peace, Mother. May your next life be happier.