Friday, February 15, 2008

What Valentine's Day Means to Me - An Anniversary - Part 2

Part 1

Once I was finally presented with my mother's death, none of those things I'd been thinking about came to mind. All I can say that I felt was "calm." I don't know that I can even describe the calmness. It just was. The only thing else I was sure of was I wanted to attend the funeral. I wanted to see her "really" dead.

My husband was worried. He has been on this roller coaster ride with me for thirty plus years. He was there for all of the therapy. He was the one who was there when I came hysterically stumbling through the front door after having jumped out of a car moving 25 miles an hour trying to escape her demands I stop therapy. He was there where she tried to use a loophole in the law to take our home away from us for being behind $150 (total) because I was doing so much therapy. If anyone understood the full extent of the power this woman had over me and the rest of my family, it was Dave.

He didn't trust that I told him it would be all right. Dave was convinced that my family would treat me badly at the funeral and that would be devastating for me. He would take me because he knew he couldn't stop me from going. He'd rather be there to pick up the pieces than have me be alone.

So we went, the two of us, to my mother's funeral. My oldest son and his wife and children were there as well. We arrived late because the church we had gone to had been replaced with a brand new complex on the other side of town. My brother hadn't remembered to share that fact with me.

By the time we arrived they had moved the casket from it's viewing position in the vestibule to the opening leading into the church. The lid had been closed. Catholic funerals do not allow for opened coffins inside the church. I was unable to see her lying there dead. That confirmation would never come. That is my one regret. A part of me really needed to see her dead.

We sat there listening to the eulogy that was contrived by my sister. It was read by a nephew-in-law that I'd never known. Looking around at all of the mourners whose presence wanted to validate this whole charade, the scene only convinced me that this whole environment was even more toxic than I had remembered.

As the unbelievable words about how important family, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren had been to her were read, my husband reached over and took my hand. The woman they were describing wasn't anyone either one of us knew. Dave thought the lies would be another blow to me but they only confirmed what I had "always" known would be true.

If there were tears shed that day, you can bet the persons shedding them felt guilty and weak. Nothing had changed in this family. The same old crippling rules were still in place. What you see you better believe is just like everyone else out there. It is normal, no matter how crazy it might feel. The biggest lie of all, what sje did is called love. If it bothers you in any way, that is your problem and you are weak. There were no suprises that day only a church full of people still caught up in a web of deception.

There right before my eyes was all the ugliness that I have lived without for the last twenty years. Watching all of the cruel and manipulating behavior (even that of trying to use my son to hurt me) convinced me that I have been right all along. Leaving that group of people in my past where they belong is one of the healthiest things I have ever done. I feel no sadness for leaving them behind only sadness for them that they are caught in that ugly trap. But I know they had their chance to see the truth. They rejected it just as they rejected me.

My family did treat me horrible as my husband had expected. I was clearly shunned except for one aunt and her daughter who were clearly glad to see me despite the objections of others in the family. But I was not devastated by their rejections. What I really felt was reaffirmed. They behaved exactly as I expected them to, still protecting her and her terrible behavior.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that my oldest son was a pallbearer and that he went to be with the rest of my family afterwards at "her" house for the usual family get together even though he knew I was excluded. The fact he chooses to still participate with that family worries me but is not something I can control. It is his lesson to learn.

Looking around that church it had been easy to see the toll the lies have taken on them. Broken bodies and aged and weathered faces on people much younger than I. The weight of generations of abuses was visible on the shoulders of the participants. It was a place I clearly didn't belong and wanted no part of.

Despite the treatment I got at the church I even pushed it a step further and decided to go to the graveside. If I couldn't see my mother in her coffin, I at least wanted to see her coffin in the ground. Dave was again reluctant but went because I wanted.

To be continued..........

Part 3

7 comments:

katy said...

So glad Dave was with you through this x

Annie said...

This is the first time I have read this blog...but I have to tell you that what I read breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that there are mothers out there who hurt their kids. It breaks my heart that there are kids out there who aren't being cherished the way they should be. I went back and read some of your old posts and I have to tell you that as I was reading about what happened to you when you were two years old I was thinking about my two year old. Whenever I look at him I feel the overwhelming urge to kiss him, hug him, love him and protect him. I am so mad that your mom not only didn't protect you but put you in harms way. How can any mother do that to her own child? Again I will say...it breaks my heart!

lovelee said...

I am glad you got the closure you needed.

Kahless said...

I am glad Dave was there too.
What was your sisters gain from her attitude? Is it because she couldnt bear to face the truth or something else?

I am sorry you couldnt see your mothers actual dead body.

Rising Rainbow said...

katy, I am glad that Dave was there too. I don't think I'd have been nearly so brave without him along.

annie, thank you, unfortunately there are lots of moms out there like mine.

lovelee, it went better than I expected, that's for sure.

kahless, I think I posted about why my sister is so mad at me but it is all about appearances being more important than anything else. A standard I no longer live by so I am very threatening to them.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we also found ourselves in a charade of bullshit at our mother funeral, some of our abusers wre there and it was a mock piece of shit, she got cremated and most of the time the ones in ehre who had bene subjected to her cruel systematic slow painful abuse sang. "ding dong the witch is dead, which old witch the wicket witch ding dong the wicked witch is dead"

Enola said...

I'll go to Toilet's funeral - or read the coroner's report - or something - because, like you, I need concrete proof he is dead.