I love my mother. Never hold this in doubt.
But she should not have been a parent.
She was the most kind, most loving person there could be. She gave to her sisters to a fault, and was taken advantage of by them. She was damaged goods though, due to her father, who was a child molester. She tried to ignore the psychological damage, pretending it never happened. She dutifully got married to my father, and was devastated when she caught him with the woman would become my stepmother. She left him and moved me and my brother back to Lubbock. Gloria Steinem said she didn’t need a man anyway.
She had a psychological hurt though because of her father, and she sought to self sooth it through drugs: marijuana, at first; later through pain killers stolen from the hospital she worked at. Because of this pain she had in her life, she was often neglectful. She didn’t pay bills regularly and many times we didn’t have electricity. She rarely did laundry; I was thirteen before I learned to use a washer (the stupid fight I had with my wife was over not knowing how to separate whites and colors). To have clean clothes for school, I would wash them in the bathtub. She rarely cooked, so we ate most of our meals at McDonald’s and Burger King. When it came to the subject of sex, it was relegated to my uncles who thought education meant dirty jokes and porn movies.
One of her sisters came to live with us. And while she brought with her stability, she also had brought with her the physical and verbal abuse of her father. I hated her. One night I threatened to call the police on her if she ever hit her kids again (yes, I know the difference between a spanking and abuse). Mom had grown attached to my youngest cousin, as he was only an infant. She didn’t kick her sister out until two weeks before I went into the Navy. I think it was an attempt to hold on to me. We had many fights about her sister mooching off of us.
She was fired from the hospital for stealing the drugs and went into rehab. After she held a new job at a nursing home, only to be fired for stealing again. She never went back into nursing (a tragedy, as she was an incredibly smart woman). She went back into rehab, and slowly through psychological counseling, we learned the true horrors she went through. I never revealed my homosexuality to her, as she had enough problems.
She did not heal from what her father had done to her and her sister (not the one who lived with us). She found a new drug: food, especially sugar (there’s where the old addictive personalities come from). Being a severe diabetic, the end would be inevitable. She lost her right leg and had to live in a nursing home. She later moved to an assisted care facility, that was many miles from the house. She would often deliberately break her DVD player just so I would come and visit (never mind the fact that I would come out there three times a week).
She passed on July 14, 2009. I didn’t cry at her funeral, as all the tears I had for her were spent long ago.
I love you Mom. Miss you.