For some reason, I always think of my brother on Mother’s Day, instead of my mom. I suppose it’s because my mom was only part of my life for 11 years … whereas my brother was part of my life for 33 years. Or it could be that I shared my first daughter with my brother as he and his wife decided not to have children (although, he really would have been a good dad). Then again, most of my memories of our mom, I shared with brother Mike.
As I was cleaning yesterday, I caught the manly man resting. He had helped his grandma clean up some trees she was trimming and when she wasn’t looking, he decided to take a little break. When he does things like this, it always reminds me of Mike, too.
I want to share this essay I wrote, with you. It’s a difficult subject, you can be sure. But, I feel that it’s necessary to share grief and sorrow. It’s important to express love in as many ways possible. And it’s important to remember if it weren’t for moms everywhere, we would not be here.
I Want You Back
I had a meeting with Mom in early 1977 in a social worker’s office. I was a little snot to her, in a hurry to get out of there and get on with being a cheerleader for a basketball game. I smiled and listened, but only heard the clock ticking away.
“I want you back,” Mom said. “I want you and your sister to move back in with me. I know I won’t ever get your brothers back because of Uncle Virgil, but at least you and Shelly can be with me.”
My mom abandoned her five children. Two months after our dad died from brain aneurysms, my mother drove off while we were in school. My entire family was gone with the turn of the steering wheel … instead of turning right to come and pick us up from school, Mom turned left and drove away. She called a cousin’s house that evening and asked that they tell us she was not coming back. We were sent to live wherever someone would take us. Shelly moved in with cousins, my three brothers were sent to live with my dad’s brother, Uncle Virgil, over 500 miles away. I was sent to the home of a family friend, a foster home.
Unbeknownst to Mom or to my social worker, my foster mother had threatened me before the meeting with Mom. Gloria sat down at the table in front of me, with a pistol held in her hand. She explained that my mother was a drunk, that she was crazy and that she had no business wanting her children back as she didn’t deserve us. She was an awful person and she couldn’t take care of us. She told me that I didn’t want to live with Mom while fingering and holding that pistol in her hand.
“If you tell them about this little talk we’ve had, Tammy, I’ll have to punish you.” she explained.
Gloria had already put my head through a wall, when she was unhappy with something I’d done. Another time, her daughter told her that I’d broken her new glasses (untrue) and I was locked in an unfinished basement for three days and only given cottage cheese to eat once a day. Before I’d moved in with them, Gloria had gotten upset with her husband and shot him in the leg, the blood stains were still in the driveway.
That pistol spoke volumes to me, a youth at the ripe old age of 12.
Within a few short hours, I buried the love I had for my mother and I became indifferent to her wishes. I didn’t care, I didn’t need her. I showed her, too, when we met.
Three months later, Mom killed herself. She took her own life. She really was unworthy of her children.
It wasn’t until I was much older, and wiser, that I finally realized that my mother wasn’t mentally stable. She desperately needed help, and even her children couldn’t help her. I lost my mother because others deemed that her life wasn’t worth living. And they didn’t hesitate to tell her this.
My mother needed me. She needed my sister. She needed to know that we still cared about her, that we were there for her, that she was a human being who deserved all the love in the world.
My mother was worthy.
Now, as a wife and mother, I know a little bit about what my mom felt during this time. She, too, lost everything. She lost the one man that she loved the most in the world and she had to fight his extended family constantly, as they blamed her for Dad’s death. The only way she knew how to handle her grief was to drink. To wipe herself out so she didn’t feel the raw emotions in her life.
Mental stability is one of the most important things in life. It’s something we all have to grasp, individually. It’s part of our heart, our mind and our soul. It’s something I’ve studied, worked on and grown to observe within myself and with my children. My mother was not mentally stable, and no one helped her.
I pray for help, if I ever need it.
“Mom, I want you back, too.”
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