My mother died 2 days ago. To say we weren’t close doesn’t really convey the reality of our relationship. In fact, to call it a relationship is an overstatement. I hadn’t seen her in nearly 25 years. I had only spoken to her on the phone a handful of times, most recently about 5 years ago.
Honestly, I was shocked by my reaction. I cried. I have this completely unexpected flood of emotions. The past keeps bubbling up, unbidden.
I got the text from my brother, Dave, around 6:30 AM Wednesday morning.
Are you up
Can I call you
Dave lives in Oregon and I live in Mississippi so we are 2 time zones apart and it was around 4:30 his time, which is not that unusual since he works the night shift. But we almost never talk on the phone; mostly we text every few months that we love and miss each other. So I knew immediately that something was wrong.
Are you sitting down?
Mom passed away this morning.
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. Something about we knew she wouldn’t live forever, and she lived the way she wanted. I teared up immediately.
Despite everything, Dave has always been more connected to our family than I have. I’ve never connected with people until recently. She did that. To both of us.
My parents divorced when I was 5. Being the mid 60’s, my mother got custody, even though she was the one with fidelity issues. Looking back, I understand that she was never capable of taking care of children; she couldn’t take care of herself. A normal relationship wasn’t ever even possible with her.
So many unexpected emotions.
We moved a lot. When I say a lot, you probably think every couple of years. Military families move a lot. We moved a lot more than that.
The normal pattern was to be evicted from our apartment. Then my mother could get public assistance for deposits and first month’s rent. We would live there until we got evicted again because she wouldn’t pay the rent. So yeah, a lot.
Add to that: she would drop us off sometimes. I mentioned she wasn’t equipped to be a parent? When she couldn’t cope with us she would leave us with a friend or relative. For months. Then she would come back and pick us up like nothing ever happened and no time had passed at all.
The by-product of all that bouncing around worked differently for Dave and me. For Dave, it made him really want those family connections that we never had. He has tried to connect with the family all our lives. Dave has always had a lot of love in him and has had a hard time finding someone who would love him back the way he deserves. I blame her.
For me… well, let’s just say I don’t make friends. Or at least not until recently. Most of my life I have connected with no more than one person at a time. To call me a homebody is an understatement. Antisocial is closer. Sociopath? Maybe. For the longest time I truly hated people. Pretty much all people. While I still think people are assholes, and stupid, I don’t actually hate them all anymore. That has nothing to do with her.
Anyway, my mother died and I have a lot of feelings about it. I might talk more about that later.