I haven’t talked about my “issues” here in a long time. Truth is, I haven’t felt bothered by them so there wasn’t a need.
Today, I’ve been overwhelmed with memories of my past. I can’t say anything triggered it. Maybe it’s just ‘my time of the month.’ I’m not depressed by the memories, even though most of them aren’t great. I just can’t seem to shake the progression. One memory will trigger another and down a rabbit hole of deep thought I go…
Anyhoo, it’s been mostly about my step-mother, her family, and my angst at them for never intervening when they saw my step-mother abuse me. I know they recognized it because I would sometimes overhear the adults (her siblings) asking my step-mother, “why are so mean to that boy?” My cousins would just ask me directly. Or they would discuss it amongst themselves in front of me. For many years growing up I worshipped and hated them at the same time. When my family from her side visited, I got a reprieve from the mental torment. It meant things would be more bearable, even if it was just a long weekend. Of course, when they left, I suffered even more for my apparent ‘slights’ while they had been visiting. It was in those moments I hated them most.
When I left home none of them made much effort to stay in touch. To be fair, neither did I. They represented a connection to “her” that was to be avoided. It wasn’t like I was overly stable anyway and there was no cell phones, texting, or even internet. But I didn’t understand that then. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve slowly opened a window to them on Facebook. Being an adult now, my view of them has been complicated. At first, I was resentful more of them didn’t reach out to me. But, I realized that wasn’t fair either. Their lives diverged from mine and I was a distant memory. They had as much reason to reach out to me as I did to them. And it wasn’t like I made a lot of effort either. I kept them at arms length. A small handful made an effort to at least reconnect and “know” me a bit. I’m grateful for that. Our lives are so distant and different so that is pretty much where it ends. We keep a cursory connection at best.
And as expected, many of them tend to be Trump supporters. This isn’t much of a surprise. I only mention it because I routinely chime in when I see them sharing absolute made up stories that reinforce their biases. Reconciling my childhood view of them with my adult exposure has been easier than expected. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. lol
Anyway, I don’t have any wisdom to share. I’m just putting thoughts to pad to help me drag the triggers and emotions out into my conscience id so I can examine them properly. I’ll post more if I figure anything of value out.
I think this is the first year I haven’t been sad during the anniversary of my mother’s death. It snuck up on me and the grand day arrived before I even knew it.
In year’s past, without even realizing it on a conscious level, I would get sad for anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. I’d start searching my thoughts and feelings to figure out what was wrong and realize it was her anniversary. And for you long-time readers, I’m sure you know I’m referring to my foster mother, not my step-mother.
I’d like to think I’ve reached a point of happiness and contentedness in my own life that I no longer yearn for her in my life. She was only in my life for a few brief years as a child but all my best memories of childhood revolve around her. Even though I was adopted, I never felt like she treated me any different. I was her baby boy and the memories I have of her are full of love and good things.
For most of my adult life I always wished she was still around. I felt like I needed her. I felt like if she’d survived that brutal fight with cancer my life would have been vastly different. I can’t know for sure how things might have been different. My soul ached for her in the early (miserable) days of adulthood. I still remember crying myself into exhaustion on her grave one year in my late 20’s. I’d been away for several years and felt like I was disrespecting her memory. I was so lost as a person back then. I felt robbed of her love and potential influence. I remember being embarrassed it took longer than I thought it should to find her plot. The cemetery had grown and changed over the years and many of the familiar markings were gone. I remember how completely adrift, cold, and utterly alone I felt when I left her grave that day. It was probably the second saddest day in my life.
Obviously, I survived and moved forward. And yet, every year around this time a wave of sadness would hit me. Some years I knew in advance and embraced it, other years it just happened and I would scramble to figure out why I was so sad. This year the big day came and I was fine. It was a shock to look down at my phone and realize the day. I felt a small pang of sadness for a moment and then smiled.
I still remember her and wish she had been a bigger part of my life. I still wish she was here in this world with me. None of those things have changed. So what has changed? I haven’t forgotten her. Is it just time and age? It might be a bit of both but I like to think it’s another sign I’ve grown up. Gone is the injured boy locked inside the body of a young adult man. In his place is a man mature and experienced enough to handle the world and his own shortcomings head on. It’s certainly been a struggle but I like to think that. I think she would be proud of the man I’ve become.
The memories of her grows slightly more fuzzy every year now. It used to be so crisp and firm in my mind’s eye. I still remember her face but even it is starting to change. I don’t have many pictures of her but the few I do have help me keep her face alive in my memory. I have zero contact with anyone from her side of the family. I haven’t seen any of them in over 25 years. (Many of them didn’t like that I was adopted, from what I’ve been told) There is only my older brother and myself now to remember her. He is in prison and he never talks about her. We’ve never discussed her once since she died actually. He is many years older than me and we were never overly close, even back then. I certainly wasn’t the little brother he wanted. But, as long as he and I remember her, she still lives.
Today marks the anniversary of my Mom’s death. She died when I was young. For some reason this year I’ve been thinking of her a lot. She always pops into my mind around this time but this year it seems more insistent. It has been almost a daily occurrence for the last few weeks. A memory will randomly pop into my head or something will invoke a memory of her.
It has been long enough now the memories are beginning to get fuzzy. Some of them used to be crystal clear and others were always fragmented. I was so young at the time. There are a still a few memories that feel so real and vivid. I think I’ve mentioned different memories in past rants. For whatever reason, I have a lot of good memories of her sewing. She enjoyed it so I think I picked up on that. Anyway, she’d be sewing away and randomly look up to see what kind of mischief I was into. On one particular day she paused and looked up at me and to her surprise, I was looking back at her rather intently. She asked what I was doing and I just stared at her. She smiled, I smiled and the moment was gone. She went back to her sewing and I went who knows where to get into mischief. I wasn’t thinking anything overly important or specific. I’m not even sure why this one memory is still so strong. I might have been 3 or 4 at the time. I wasn’t 5 because that’s when the cancer diagnosis came and my life went crazy for awhile.
The anniversary of my dad’s death is only a few days from hers. While my dad’s death is much more recent, it doesn’t seem to invoke the same type of memories for me. While he and I patched things up at the end, we were very distant for a good chunk of my life. I’m sure that is why the memories are different. Anyway, I remember my mom’s hair, the scrunched up face she would make during moments of deep concentration. I remember her kind smile and even the thin line her lips made when she was angry. I remember she always liked having me with her. She never made me feel like a nuisance or a hassle. I had a habit of walking into the kitchen and just snuggling up against her leg rather absent-mindedly while she was cooking. I remember my little rocking chair that I absolutely loved. It was in the shape of a horse and it was one of those fixations that kids sometimes get with certain toys. I remember it breaking in the middle of the night one time and I cried and cried. My mom made my dad go out that night and find a piece of wood to fix it. He took it in the back room, patched it up and even fixed one of the little eyes that had come loose. I was beyond gleeful and grateful.
I don’t really know why she is on my mind so much this year. I miss her though. I wish she’d had a chance to see me grow up. I can’t say how she would have taken my being gay but I can’t help but think my life would have been better back then had she been around. She always seemed to be the warm spot for my dad. Oh they fought and sometimes like cats and dogs, but they always made up. Ironically, the best memories of my father are the short years between my mom’s death and him remarrying.
There isn’t any sense romanticizing about what might or might not have happened. My life is what it is and I am where I am because of my life. I talk about her here is so I don’t forget her. She is alive in my memories and if I keep those alive, she will live with me. And even though I probably view her thru the eyes of a small child, I still remember and that is enough for me.