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MY LIFE AS I LIVE IT

I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Mom

I've made references to my mom and some of my childhood in prior posts. I want to write about my mom a bit. I loved my mom very much and at the time of her death she was one of my closest friends. I miss her every day of my life.
My mom was one of six kids. From what I understand, her dad was an alcoholic, as was my mom and all but a couple of siblings. My grandfather was physically and mentally abusive. I don't remember anything negative about my grandpa, but I was pretty young when he died. My mom wanted to be a nurse, but she started dating my dad while she was in high school and he was a flight instructor at her brother-in-laws airport. He was 10 years her senior. When she was 18, she got pregnant and married my dad. So much for pursuing her dreams of college and a nursing career. He left her with her parents and went a few hours north to live and work. I'm guessing he saw her on week ends...don't know, can't remember what she told me. Finally, he moved her, me and by that time, my sister up to live with him. He took a job managing an airport, which stayed open 24/7, so he pretty much lived there. This left my mom, having had me at 18, my sister at 19, now living away from her parents, taking care of 2 kids (practically as a single parent), with her dreams of college and a different kind of life haunting her.
I tell you all of this in her defense.
My mom was very abusive. How? Mentally, physically, emotionally, it was all there. I'm only going to give a few examples that typifies:
Mentally: When my sister and I were young enough to fit under our beds, I remember hiding there when she told us she was cooking a stew and she was going to boil us in it. I know now she wouldn't have, but at 5 or 6...you don't.
She told me that I was going to die in my sleep one afternoon when she put us down for a nap, telling my sister to tell me goodbye, that I'd be dead when she woke up.
Physically: She beat us with a razor strap, switches...and I don't use the word 'beat' lightly.
Emotionally: She always told us she hated us and that we were the biggest mistakes of her life. She was calling us whores and sluts before we were 10, we had no clue what that meant.

Mom was in bed probably before 6 every evening. My dad wasn't around, and we were not allowed to make any noise...no phone calls and TV practically on mute. Believe me you didn't want to wake her up. I remember trying to stretch the phone cord into the bathroom so that she wouldn't hear me. But she always did.
What we didn't know, was that she was in pain. My mom was an alcoholic, it's hereditary. I didn't know she had a problem till I was probably in my late teens. She'd had major back surgeries, she suffered from migraines, she worked full time and was raising 2 kids, for all practical purposes, alone. Add to the equation pain pills, alcohol and resentment...not a pretty picture. But once I was old enough to see she had a problem and understand the core of the problem, I became a bit understanding. I also began understanding that when my dad did come home, he was ignoring what was obviously going on. He was leaving us with a mad woman and saving himself by staying away.
What saddens me is that my mom was miserable her entire adult life. Today, she would have so many alternatives to her problems. I think about how much different my mom's life could have been had she had a husband that helped instead of hid. I think about what a difference prozac could have made, a more attentive doctor, so many things.
When I was 26 I became a Christian (I was raised somewhere between atheist and agnostic). I forgave my mom completely. I let go of all resentment and anger, and saw the hell her life had been. Holding anything against my mom didn't erase my past with her, it only fed the negativity in my life. I chose instead to love her and forgive her. We became friends. I soon moved to Texas and she and I talked several times a week. I want to say she mellowed, but according to my sister who never left the town we were raised in and lived about 10 minutes from my mom and dad, she didn't mellow at all. But my relationship with my mom was good, she was a source of comfort and understanding to me when I needed her and I'll always appreciate that. According to my dad she never stopped drinking, but she didn't drink when she visited my house in Texas during the 8 years I lived here before she died. We would talk, and laugh, and she'd stoke my hand like she was trying to memorize it. I'll always remember that.
She still lived with the same problems, and she died with those problems. My dad developed heart problems and was in and out of the hospital with tests and such before he finally had open heart surgery. This was right before Thanksgiving in `91. We went home for Thanksgiving with Casey (2 yrs old) and Charlie (11 months, he was a Christmas eve baby) in tow. We were all so nervous having the boys around Dad, but he wanted to see them and we tried to be very cautious. After we returned to Texas, they put Dad back in the hospital a couple of times trying to get his blood to the right thickness (a common problem after heart surgery). On December 17th my mom called after I'd gone to bed and talked to Mark. She told him that they'd put Dad back in the hospital, but it wasn't serious, she just wanted to let us know. She told him that she loved us all. She died in her sleep that night. Apparently, she too had heart disease. No one knew. To me it has always been ironic that, once again, Dad was being taken care of while she suffered, alone, without anyone noticing.
The reason I tell all of this is because I occasionally say something derogatory about my mom. I did have a painful and abusive childhood. However, I can not and do not hold my mom responsible for her behavior. She was ill, mentally and physically. She did the best she could. She lived her life in pain, sadness and loneliness. She loved me, my husband and my children with all her heart. Less than a week after she died I got a huge box in the mail full of Christmas presents she'd wrapped and sent to us. This is how I choose to remember my mom.

13 Comments:

Blogger brooklyn babe said...

Thank God for healing.
Thanks for sharing, I know reliving certain memories, took some courage.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Pebble said...

ditto

1:26 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

bb and pebblepie: Thanks. I just wanted to make sure that anyone reading my posts knew that I loved my Mom, because sometimes when I refer to my childhood in posts it might seem otherwise.
Thanks for reading.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

hi! thanks for visiting my space. Reading about your childhood/mom I felt I was reading one of Emily Berg's novels.

andrea

10:00 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

That must have been really difficult for you to share. You must have a heart of gold in order to find it in your own heart to forgive her. She sounds like she was a great lady. I recall my mom was friends with an alcoholic mother when I was growing up. She ended up dying before age 50. I thank God everyday that my parents were so kind to me.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Romeo Jensen said...

sounds like your mom was one tough lady and someone I would have enjoyed meeting

3:23 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

andrea~I'm not familiar with Emily Berg.
Hey Eddie~I've been wanting to write about my mom for awhile. No heart of gold here, I'm evil to the core. :) hugs!
romey~she may have enjoyed you too, she was a pretty good judge of charachter. My husband, as far as I know, was about the only person she ever said she liked.

5:06 PM  
Blogger bricotrout said...

well doumented. hard to read. i imagine it was both hard and easy to write. i understand your need to have written it. your ability to forgive actions like those is indeed evidence of a higher power (as an agnostic i shy away from the word 'god' because of its limiting conotations)within you. very moving

7:46 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

bricotrout ~ thanks for stopping by. I'm just hoping I followed all your blog rules. :)

9:35 AM  
Anonymous blackops said...

That was tough to read only because I can relate to much of what it spoke to. Kudos to you for sharing that, I know it was hard.

7:54 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

blackops ~ yeah? thanks for sharing that with me.

8:13 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

It is refreshing to see someone come out of that kind of a hard childhood and not be blaming every mistake in their life on their parents.

More power to you and carry on....

7:08 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

exmi ~ I don't blame mine...maybe mine won't blame me... It's the circle of life, my friend. I'm hoping anyway. :)

3:20 PM  

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