“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.
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.