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Thursday, May 26, 2016

THE MOM I CAN'T UNDERSTAND

Mom was an abused spouse.

Not the typical battered woman, the insecure female that doesn't think she deserves happiness, or the truly damaged lady that doesn't feel anything except when she is being beaten. In fact, she wasn't PHYSICALLY abused at all.... if you discount the ONE time. She was cursed at, yelled at, demeaned, and relentlessly controlled. The worst part was, she kept going back for more because she hoped things would get better.... for most of their twenty plus years together.

Some may contend that she couldn't have been classified as abused because she volunteered to stay with her abuser. SOME may not know the whole story. Heck.... I don't even know the WHOLE story, but from what I have learned, this simple, loving, compassionate woman that I call Mom is much stronger and courageous than I ever believed.

Like many who begin to read this, I felt Mom was being stupid for putting up with this kind of treatment. No one should be in a position of complete unhappiness. Those that do, I figured, were mentally defective and needed help of some kind. What I came to realize was that Mom HAD made some mistakes, owned up to them, but continued to have faith in a basic good in EVERYONE. I told her more than once she is a better human being than I will EVER be. I CAN'T admit that I have the vision or capacity to recognize this so-called GOOD in those that don't show it, even occasionally.

When asked to help get her out of this situation, of course I didn't think twice. I knew the cliffsnotes version of what she was dealing with at home. When she finally admitted to everything that happened, I couldn't help but feel anger toward the individual responsible. You know the kind. That deep-down-almost-embarrassing hatred that none of us should be capable of. Yet, even this strong emotion was balanced out by the fact that Mom CHOSE this path and should accept some of the blame. This was a key point for me to move on past the plan-a-mysterious-disappearance stage.

Mom has always had the rocky path put in front of her. She didn't complain, she didn't make excuses. She just kept moving forward and ultimately outworked the problem at hand. Some of this had to have been instilled while a child in Germany during WWII that I wrote about [here]. I further wrote about her life [here], back in 2013, but I waited too long to find out more details. Her memories are fading faster than I could have imagined. She has some that have stayed and they are mostly good. Far too many names have been deleted, faces have dissolved, and experiences undone.

The other day, she asked me about the dog she had cared for the last ten years. BY NAME! Internally, I freaked out!!! She doesn't know MY name yet she recalls RUSTY?????? I got angry....for about THAT long. On one hand, I liked the fact she recalled ANY name. On the other, I wanted to bawl, knowing that I will NEVER hear her call me "Toemas" (German for Thomas) again. The important thing is that she knows I am her son and she remembers my "baby" days. The rest..... well, let's just say that those years after "baby" can be ANYTHING I want them to be. There's positives in EVERYTHING right???

I post to Facebook what I hope is viewed as FUNNY things about Mom that are not just FALSE, but EPICALLY false. Such as the picture to the right, where I said "Soooooo..... Mom said she would build a time machine and talk her younger-self out of having kids if we don't go to Ocean City today.... Here we are at — eating dinner at Waterman's Seafood Company."

... or the popular "Mom threatened to beat me with a garden rake if I didn't take her to J&J Pizza in Middletown, so......."



The advantage to HER is that most of the bad memories of that double-ex husband have eroded to the point that she only gets an image of him being good to her for most of their time together. The times that got so bad she had to leave? Mostly forgotten, totally forgiven. The times she was kept up days at a time because the minute she would go to sleep, he would wake her up banging on her door and screaming awful things at her? Foggy enough to dismiss.

I told her today that this man has finally passed away after being diagnosed as terminal long ago. She didn't understand at first but then, the reality of the situation sunk in and tears came. They weren't tears of love, tears of affection, or tears from cutting onions. They were tears of pity for this man. Surprisingly, she felt pain. How is beyond me. Maybe she was really from Omicron Ceti III, and I was mixed in a hypospray. That WOULD explain my Trekkiedom.

I WANTED to celebrate. Karma finally showed up. That this guy, the one who took away many of my Mom's happy years, the guy who made her life intolerable and not as comfortable as it should have been, had endured six months of misery and suffering. It seemed to BEGIN to even the score. I WANTED to jump up on a table and dance.

But I couldn't.

I am beginning to believe that Mom has gotten a gift that she gives to me now. Nothing clouding the opportunity to laugh. Nothing getting in the way of happiness. Nothing to reflect on that is negative. Nothing to drag her down or keep a smile off her face.

Sounds like Heaven huh?

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