“I heard your momma died,” they said. I hadn’t heard from extended family in years.
“WHERE WERE YOU THE LAST TWO YEARS? I DID EVERYTHING AND NOW YOU COME BACK?” my brother chided me. “You know, your momma was always smart but a loner,” mentioned my aunt. “She always treated him better,” said another.
All family’s have different dynamics and I may have grown up in a completely fractured family that was full of so many lies that you didn’t know what was the truth anymore. However, under no circumstances did you leave your mother in a hospital to die alone. This is what decision my brother chose to do. As he said, “She’s a goner anyway.” What loving son says that? I could go on about the things that she didn’t do for me emotionally but I’m going to talk about the things she did, even in an abusive marriage, that made me proud she was my mother.
My mom was born in a small town in Weewoka,Oklahoma, lived many years in California and passed away in the city lights of Las Vegas in a quaint little yellow home she bought herself. She loved walking on the pier in Seal Beach and looking for dolphins or whales that are migrating back to Baja. She would check out the fancy bathrooms in new casino’s. Why do women do that? She would take off on mini-vaca’s and had a passion for photography and holistic herbs. She lived in pain from her past and what damage there was in her body but she kept chugging along. I could go on for years about the things that she didn’t do for me emotionally but I’m going to talk about the things she did, even in an abusive marriage, that made me proud she was my mother.
My parents were the blue color family living in a small two bedroom home with a huge backyard in southern California. My father worked in aerospace. He may have been good at his job but not a family. My mom did her best to keep the peace at home so we weren’t in the fire zone and during the day was at the school volunteering. She was a VIP at the schools the entire time my brother started school until he finished sixth grade. She loved working for his first grade teacher, Mrs. Price, who stayed in touch with her until she passed away. She also was involved with the Girl Scouts of America at my elementary school and was on a mission to have me complete my badges. I still have the sash with the badges sewn on. These memories of a good mom being involved with her children at school should resonate with those who were fortunate to not be a lock key child in the 70's.
But, what really made her unique was when she forced my father to buy a bigger house. We lived in a rougher part of the neighborhood and my brother and I had to share a room until I was in the 9th grade. Imagine it? All four of us had to share a restroom. I still have nightmares about that! These days, kids have fit if they have to share a phone, video game or clothes. She knew this was a HUGE problem and took action. A good plan takes time. First, she went real estate school when my dad was at work and passed the exam. When my father found out he probably lost a nut because his thought process is women are for the home and can’t be smarter than a man. Eventually she sold enough homes to get the down payment on a three bedroom home. I don’t know what leverage she had on him but it must of been good. While he was out of town on business, she found a home and all he needed to do was sign. He was backed into a tight corner and eventually signed the documents. Thank you momma!
During the late 80’s and early 90’s the economy turned upside, they shut down the aerospace plant my father was working at and they moved out of state. After a quite a few difficult years with my father, she was finally got a divorce. Instead of living alone, what my mom did next deserved mad respect from me and anyone else. She cared for my sweet grandmother the last 15 years of her life. While doing this, she learned many things about the way people care for their elderly. She was an advocate for senior citizens. She championed for those who didn’t have someone watching over them and for those families who didn’t know who to call when family was being mistreated. She even got a Nursing Home shut down due to violations. All during this, she took care of my sweet grandmother. There was no special day nurse or extra help from any family members except when I was on vacation. I would come up and give her some time away. She gave the gift of peace to my grandmother and she gave me the gift of getting to know my grandmother as an adult. The greatest blessing ever.
When my mom was just a young girl, she never imagined that she would have accomplished writing a book, volunteering, and owning a home. She never imagined her children leaving her in a cold hospital room to die either. My brother said I was wasting my time. Her friends said that she wouldn’t want to see me. Did I believe that? Just because we had to some words and they were hard to hear? My mother’s last breath was after I said I forgave her. It was an emotional journey in the last two months. She was a kind, friendly, intelligent, creative woman who was stuck in a nightmare marriage for many years. She did her best and that is all that anyone can ask.