Sep 192014
 

“WHY IS THAT WOMAN STILL IN MY HEAD?” I shrieked, as I threw my vividly purple and very expensive pocketbook onto the car seat. All I heard was my mother’s voice, in her trademark sneer, saying, “Don’t you think you’re a little too effin’ old to be carrying a bright purple pocketbook?”

I’m editing as not to offend. She had a mouth worse than two ships full of sailors.

“No, Mom, I don’t”.

Gone But Not Forgotten

My mother passed from this earth eight months ago. Her legacy is still with me, I’m afraid. The legacy of me being fat (true), ugly (debatable) and no good for nuttin’ honey (WRONG-O!). I can still hear her like she is standing next to me. It still hurts like hell, too.

A Time To Forgive

When I knew she was dying, I realized what I had to do. I had to find a way to forgive her. Did I want to? HELL NO!!! I screamed, cried and cursed quite creatively in multiple languages all the way home that day. But I knew it had to be. I had to do it for me, the one who would go on and not for her, the one who was leaving.

Back I went the next day. I stayed outside for a long time, not wanting to go in. After a while, I steeled myself and headed back to her bedside in the ICU. I’m pretty sure she was conscious, but it really didn’t matter.

It took me a few times to get the words out and mean them. I felt like Fonzie in the old “Happy Days” show, you know, the guy who could never say he was sorry. Finally, I looked straight at her and said, “I forgive you.”  It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done.

The last request she made of me was to sign the papers to put her in hospice. I did what she asked. She died two days later.

Sister, Sister

The really hard part was that till the day she died, she never had a kind word for me or my sister. We never knew how she played us off against each other almost from the beginning. There is an eight-year age difference between us so early relationships weren’t close. We never found out the extent of her games until it came time to bury her. Now we are trying again. We can’t get all those years back, but we can try to create new ones. . . as sisters, not enemies.

Things Left Unsaid

So, yes, Mom, you’re forgiven. I really DID mean it that day. However, there are a couple of things I still want to say to you.

Mom, I like purple. You’ve always known that. At some point, you decided to buy everything in purple and rub it in my face. Okay. I can accept that.

Yeah, I like Dooney & Bourke pocketbooks. It’s my one cave-in to irrational spending. You liked expensive things, too.  Lots of them. Daddy made sure you always had what you wanted.  I can accept that.

What I can’t accept is how you ran up $30,000+ in debt to copy me and everybody else and then just didn’t pay it. Now they come after me for it, even after you’re gone. I send them to the cemetery. They’re welcome to whatever they can collect from you there.

I still hate all those names you called me, Mom. Your mother is the one who is supposed to love you when nobody else does. Okay. I’ll accept that, too. I often wonder, though, how you taught me to be compassionate, kind and loving while being a hateful, spiteful bitch. One of the mysteries of the universe, I guess.

Now that I think about it, it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the universe. You’re gone and we’ll be here for however many more years we have to try and rebuild what you tore apart. What does matter is that I am going to work harder than anything I have ever worked at in my life to rid myself of your voice.

Mom, one of your common rants was that I never listened to a word you said. You were wrong. I heard every. single. word.

But maybe. . . just maybe. . . you’re finally right.

Feb 042013
 

Girl With hair dryerMy 16-year-old was in the bathroom the other day getting ready to go out. Nothing unusual. Her makeup was all over the bathroom counter and her straightening iron was getting good and hot to take the gorgeous waves out of her hair, the way she likes it. I happened to glance down at my watch and note the time. She wasn’t due where she was going for 2 – 3 hours yet. And then I looked at the shirt she was planning on wearing, casually tossed over the chair, NOT one of my favorites. My mouth was open with words on the tip of my tongue and.  .  . I bolted out of there like the hounds of hell were hot on my tail.

Why? Because the image that jumped into my mind was of a 16-year-old me, looking in a bathroom mirror, my makeup all over the bathroom counter, hair spray in hand, all decked out in my new tent dress that I made myself (and it looked store bought!) out of some great psychedelic material and. . . my mother walking in, looking at me, making that disdainful noise she always made when she looked at me and saying. . . “Are you honestly going out looking like THAT?”

My 16-year-old heart was crushed. I had just spent 2 – 3 hours trying to look good. I was never as pretty as that kid of mine is so I worked extra hard at it. And in eight words, the person who was supposed to love me no matter what shot me down and shot me down hard. She did it all the time. And I was just about to pass on the tradition.

My mother was about to come out of my mouth. Will this woman never leave me? She didn’t like me. I was and still am an embarrassment to her, the way she sees it. I will be working at getting her out of my head until the day they nail me into a box. But this is something that has to stop here and now. I have to be more aware. I have vowed not to repeat the pattern.

Admittedly, my kiddo is a bit stuck on herself. Why? Because in an effort to not do what was done to me, I have told her since Day 1 that she is beautiful, intelligent, hot, the best, that she can do whatever she sets out to do. Some have told me I created a monster. Maybe. She has problems that I didn’t create, but one thing she doesn’t have is a problem with her self-worth.

Apparently, though, I haven’t broken that chain entirely yet. I was about to say something derogatory to her about what she was going to wear. Did it matter? Probably not. The shirt she was wearing was not something I’d wear. Gee, I wonder why? She’s 16 and I’m 60. I thought it looked “trashy,” but it covered her. She’ll grow out of some of this. I didn’t wear the same stuff at 21 that I did at 16. I know this. But there I was, about to inflict the same kind of damage that I’ve been fighting against all my life.

The good news is that I stopped in time. This time. Will I stop in time next time? Oh, Lord, I hope so. No matter what problems the two of us have (and we have some whoppers), I never want her to look in the mirror and hate what she sees, to think she’s not pretty enough, not smart enough. . . simply not good enough. I know that feeling and wouldn’t inflict it on my worst enemy, let alone someone I love.

This is one of those experiences that has made me think. In itself, it’s not much of anything, really. But that “nothing” could have done some serious damage. She’s fragile. What almost 17-year-old girl isn’t?  So I will be on my guard for next time, because there will be a next time. That’s how serious this type of damage is. It’s like it never leaves you, but I am damned and determined not to pass it on.

Can Old Busted Hotness do it?  Film, as they say, at 11.