It’s been over 2 months since I blogged. Things have been going pretty well. But the past few days my patience has been wearing thin. Tuesday would have been my mom’s 73rd birthday. I tend to not give a lot of credence to the idea of “anniversary reactions,” but every once in awhile her birthday or death date seem to trigger me.
I’m not sure why now, 6 years after her death, I suddenly feel so heartbroken. Maybe it’s that I feel so distant from my family, so forgotten by my brothers, that I crave the person that not only created us, but kept us together. Maybe it’s that I’m the caregiver to a woman who keeps trying to (s)mother me even though she is the one that needs (s)mothering. Maybe it’s that it’s Fall, her favorite time of year. Or it could be my upcoming trip to Yellowstone, one of the places she had wished to see. Or it could be that every time I go to share a photo of her and I on Facebook I realize that we hardly have any photos together.
Maybe it’s just that I have too much time on my hands. And I seem to be spending a lot of time reflecting on the things she did wrong as a parent. The way she shut me down and out when I came out as bisexual. How I wanted to force an apology from her when she was on her deathbed- to ask her if she regretted the way she treated me. To ask her if she realized how much I wanted to kill myself at the age of 22 because I could never be good enough for her. I wanted to ask her if I had ended up marrying a woman if she would have been just as excited at my wedding….If we would have still had a relationship as mother and daughter….had it been a woman I married would I still have been the one sitting at her side as she was dying?
And I wonder how I would have turned out had all of my childhood interests been supported. Had she bought me the Matchbox cars or the Star Wars toys I desired. But my interests were steered towards all things “girly.” I was only allowed to play with the Legos when my boy cousins were over. It’s not that I didn’t like the “girl” toys; I loved my dolls. It’s that I also wanted the toys my cousins played with, but they wouldn’t buy them for me. My mom always told me I could be anything I wanted, yet the real message I was given was that certain things were really just for boys. My dad encouraged my love of science, yet, that love was not nurtured enough to push me towards a STEM career. It was a constant theme in our relationship that they tried to mold me into someone that I just wasn’t. And that led me to a lifelong belief that I just was never good enough. I wasn’t girly enough. I wasn’t traditional enough. I didn’t conform enough (I hear the refrain, “you just always have to be different, don’t you?”). I was “selfish” for being bisexual. And I was going to hell for being an atheist, which made them very very sad. And when I complained they weren’t supportive enough, their response was that I shouldn’t let their disappointment in me hurt me, and then they would reassure me that they did in fact love me, just as I am. Fuck them. They were the selfish ones. They may have done a lot of things right, but they sure as hell got many things wrong, especially making their issues into mine.
The only thing I do know right now is that my heart hurts. I still can’t believe she’s gone. All the good and bad things she has missed in 6+ years. It’s so unfair. I should have stepped in sooner. I should have called her doctor and pushed more tests. And I guess that’s why I’m such a control freak with my pain-in-the-ass MIL- I don’t want my husband to feel this turmoil. I don’t want him to blame himself, or me. I want us to be able to say that we really did do our best, even when it was hard, even when the last thing on earth we wanted to do was to be a caregiver, we still did it. Because that’s what good “parents” do.