I’m sure we all have some form of unfinished business in our lives. I’m not talking about, “Oh crap, I forgot to water the flowers” kind. I mean the “I will never get to say the things I wanted to say to them” kind. I have some unfinished business with my mom, who died almost eight years ago to cancer.
Say it with me: CANCER SUCKS!
My moms death day is coming up. I don’t usually get sentimental about it, but recently I spoke to a couple of my FB Friends and the subject of mothers came up, which in turn got me to thinking about my mom. Hence the post.
I may ramble a bit with this post, fair warning. And I should probably disclaim this right away and say I will be admitting some rather hard truths of my past and if you are going to judge me for them, you can just stop reading now.
My mom was a violent alcoholic.
It’s not like she birthed me and started beating me right out of the gate. This kind of disease takes years to blossom into fruition. Some people can fight it. My mom didn’t care to. She used to volunteer at field trips and help me with my homework. These were replaced with a drive to her local dive bar and lots of yelling. It was like she disappeared.
It started out as functional alcoholism. Drinking on the weekends first. It progressed to nightime drinking daily, after she got off work. Eventually it lead to a little Kesler in the coffee in the mornings and a liquid lunch to hold her over till quitting time.
The thing is, abuse has no schedule. It doesn’t have a time clock that you punch in and out of. It wasn’t regularly. It is sporatic. It is walking on eggshells and hoping for a ‘good’ day. It is saying fuck it and fighting back because you were tired of taking it. It is trying to ignore the cruel, hurtful words that sliced up my insides.
It was how she made me believe her. I believed that I was nothing but a little bitch and no one would ever love me. I believed her when she told me my father didn’t love me. I believed when she told me to shut my stupid mouth and not ask questions when I caught them fighting or had to call the police to stop her boyfriend from strangling her. I believed that I was ruined. It was making up excuses when she choked me in front of my friends for the first time.
There were never marks, so it wasn’t that serious, I would tell myself. I rationalized it, thinking, this is how all families are. You are supposed to dodge skateboards that your mom and her boyfriend are swinging at each other. You are supposed to hang on for dear life to the top rail when your mom tries to push you down the stairs. You lie to your friends about wanting to stay the night when your mom locks you out because she just plain forgot about you.
It was also interspersed with surreal moments that seemed loving. She would take me camping. She taught me to fish. She taught me how to fire a BB gun. She taught me how to throw a football. She taught me to defend myself with a knife if anyone tried to hurt me. She taught me pressure points to use since I wasn’t as strong as the opposite sex. She would make funny jokes when her friends were over and sometimes I felt like I could breathe normally. But normal is just a setting on a dryer as they say, and those moments are few and far in between in my memory. Sometimes, we were happy.
It was….confusing to a teenage girl.
Then it was like I passed some unknown test and the abuse just….stopped. At least the physical kind. Maybe I got to an age where I was old enough to take her if she tried to hurt me. I defended myself from her always, believe that. Maybe I had outgrown it in her eyes. Maybe I was finally conditioned to behave the way she wanted me too when I went over there and there wasn’t a need for it. Maybe she just got tired of it. I have no idea. Specualtion just gives me more questions so I try to leave it alone and be grateful it stopped.
We should have gone to counseling. We should have communicated better, but we didn’t.
And I am ashamed to say I blame her for it. I want to take some responsibility for it and say I was a terrible child and I deserved some of the pain. I want to say I gave as good as I got and SHE had to defend herself from ME. But that is not the case, I was the child, she was the parent. She took advantage of her power over me. She destroyed herself with alcohol. She didn’t care enough about herself or us to try. She rolled over and gave up. I can’t let that shit go. I can’t understand.
Am I am bad person for not forgiving my dead mother?
Why can’t I understand? Why can’t I let it go? I want to so bad. I want to try to remember the good times that we had. But the bad times are what stick out in my mind the most and I can’t make them go away.
I want to scream at my mom and rant and rave and maybe find some damn closure. But I can’t.
This is unfinished business that I have with my mom.