Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mothers And Daughters

   I have been wanting to do this post for quite a while now and have been putting it off. The opportunity to make this treasury on Etsy has compelled me though, to go ahead and get it out there. In all of these photos you see mothers and daughters in such sweet relationships. That is as it should be. But this has not been the experience with me and my mother.
   Just so you know, I don't have some sick need to embarrass my mother, or to use this blog as a gut-spilling area! The simple fact is that from the very beginning of my doing this blog I have left a poem at the end of each post. My own poems. They have run the gambit from silly to serious. But I have not shared quite a few of them because they are ones having to do with my mother and my very traumatic childhood.
    My mother was a physically beautiful woman. I remember as a child sitting and watching her, in awe, as she put on her 'going out' clothes, and fixed her hair. She was very petite, very personable, and a 'Man Magnet'! Her and her best friend hung out at military posts on the weekends, partying.
   Unfortunately, as she was a single mother for most of my childhood, we became very familiar with her boyfriends. They eventually became our sibling's fathers! She was pregnant a lot. And my siblings all have the different last names to prove it! That is neither here nor there though.
   The impact of her having men in the house all of the time, and having little girls, was the problem. I became a casualty. A victim of repeated sexual abuse from some of the men in her life. It made for very awkward relations with my siblings when some of these men were also their fathers! It's an on going struggle, even at this age, trying to have a conversation with my brother or sister about their father, my molester!
   My mother also was, up until just recently, an alcoholic also. And her best qualities, and yes...she had many...didn't show themselves when she was drinking. In fact, her behavior with us children bordered on sadistic at times. One of my sisters refuses to even open a card or letter from our mother even today! She has not visited our childhood state since we left, and doesn't even talk about it with her children...Her memories have cooked, as if in a simmering pressure cooker with the lid held tight, all these years. And I chance the lid blowing off and scalding me every time I even mention my mother's name to her!
   My poetry has been my saving grace. All of my feelings, good or bad, about my childhood have been chronicled in my story-telling style of poems. That's the reason I'm writing this post now. I have gotten down to some of the darker, more emotionally revealing, poems of mine now that I've shared a poem a day for all of this time. And it would not be me to not share the rest of them.
   So, as you see future poems that SEEM dark, angry, emotional, or mean-spirited, I need you to know that these are poems from my past. They are NOT who I am now. In fact, they are completely NOT who I am now. But in the same vein, they are who I was, and what I felt, and what I needed to put on paper at the time. I'm sure that as an abuse survivor I'm not the only person that has gone through these feelings. I hope that my poetry helps someone to deal with the emotions a little better. It is possible!
   I give much thanks to my God, Jehovah;  my husband Jeff, of almost 29 years; my dad; and my many adopted mothers over the years, for all of their healing words, strength of character, loving spirit, and listening ears. I am much stronger and happier, come what may, because of all of you! I think my life and my poetry also reflects that.
   My mother and I do not talk to each other now. I always inquire about her, and wish her a good life and an active conscience. One day I have hopes of resuming the relationship we had when I was a naive child, where she spoke and I hung on every word and I knew that my world revolved around the peace I got from her. I said I HOPE for that. I don't EXPECT that. She lives with too much guilt to admit that this was our experience, and I live with too much reality of it to waste even one more minute of pretend conversation with her about it. So that's where we are. And that's the way it has stayed for many years now.
   To all mothers and daughters in strained relationships, it will sound strange coming from me, after what I just revealed, but treasure the relationship you have! Love can be hard, but it's worth the trying! In my case, the trying didn't work. But I am centered, loving, strong, and ME because I know I did everything, short of pretending to be someone I was not, to heal the wounds. Communication is such a precious thing. Say what needs saying...Today! Tomorrow is not promised to you. Don''t live with 'What if's and 'I wish...'es. Those kind of things can eat you alive a memory at a time. Let John Mayer's song compel you, as it does me every day, to "Say What You Need To Say".

Excuses To Forgive

You have abused-been down-right rude
to all the memories that I had.
With one swift thrust-you've  slain my trust
and all the warm thoughts of my dad.

You have excused-while I accused,
and want 'Old Sleeping Dogs' to lie;
But with my heart-I just can't  start,
not at this age, another try!

We both know-that with life's  flow
will come new heartaches yet to live,
But heartaches, 'Old', have left me cold,
without a wanting to forgive.

If you get sick-will it all click?
Will I, then, want to care for you?
Will I understand you better then?
For both our sakes, I hope I do!

I give my God the final nod
on whether there will be a change;
Emotions flee-to think of me
thinking of you! Its kind of strange.

Maybe forgiving is just living-
respecting life-respecting his!
Believing every life is sacred,
and no matter what life it is!

18 comments:

  1. Oh, Deb, I am so sorry that happened to you! It just goes to show that one never knows where another person is coming from. My relationship with my mother was very strained and she was an alcoholic for many years before the alcohol killed her many years ago. We didn't get to resolve our issues until after she was gone. I know it sounds strange, but that's how it was for me. I am so glad you have a wonderful life now and that your husband, your friends, your poetry were able to help you heal! Much love, Silke

    ReplyDelete
  2. Silke, Thanks so much for the encouraging comment. I can see that you DO understand. I was sorry to hear that you and your mother didn't get to resolve your issues before she passed though. That's why I ended my post the way I did, because, at this point, if my mother passes away I will have no regrets. I have said all I needed to say to her. It unfortunately didn't heal our breech, but at least I know it was said.
    Your art will have to be your communication of feeling...And it is! You're doing just fine!!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow....I can so relate. Funny huh? How we can meet over a social networking site and read and comment on each others twitters and then find out we have something in common :-) My mother was an alcoholic as well. And I like you wished my mother well but decided to not have a relationship with her in later years. She could not give me the relationship I needed as mother/daughter and it was such a one sided hurtful relationship. I decided to move forward without the relationship. My mother passed last September and at least I know now she is at peace. I still feel ok about my decision but I do struggle with not seeing her over the years from time to time.

    Thank you for sharing an intimate part of your life. Very brave! I applaud you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so sorry that you have gone through so much in your life. I too can say I had a strained relationship with my mom and it all started when I was in high school. Still married to my dad and not an alcoholic but did very strange things. In winter she would open all the windows and doors saying she was hot and my bothers and I would freeze. And no it was not menopause. She did so many other starnge things that I won't go into. It wasn't till I had my first child that we became close again and that too in it self is another story. In 1996 she was diagnosed with a brian tumor the size of a grapfuit which explained her personality, her vision loss, and many more mental problems. She passed away 5 months later at the age of 56. I continue to go through tough times and I wish she were here. God works in mysterious ways and look he has brought us together in such a wierd way. I too am at peace with the road I took. My prayers are with all of you who have been brave enough to share.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maritime, It doesn't surprise me that my story is similar to many people's story. I'm afraid that with the world the way it is, there's a lot of stories like ours...but no one wants to tell it out loud...I'm sorry for the loss of your mom. Hopefully you are surrounded by many people that love you and fill up the space a little where your mom did not,...or could not. I am comforted by my study of the Bible and many friends and family members who love me. And I always try to remember a saying I heard that was attributed to Maya Angelou. 'People in life do what they know how to do. And when they learn better, they do better.' Both me and my mother still have some learning to do!

    ReplyDelete
  6. SnowFlakeDreams1, The story of you and your mom brought me to tears. To think that there were many years lost because of an unknown illness! I'm glad you had the time of closeness after your 1st child's birth. I'm sure you are too now...The roads we take and the decisions we make take courage, don't they?! It makes it a lot easier to handle when you do what's true to you though. And it sounds like you did that. So did I. :-))

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for having such an honest blog. I am glad you have found healing through poetry, I really think that expression through language is a great way to lift the burdens of life. I am the daughter of a mother who had a life similar to yours growing up, and our relationship has gone deeper as she forgives and is healed from the things in her past and her relationship with her parents. God is good!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My relationship with my mother is also strained.She is not an alcoholic I don't think, but very hurtful and very odd.

    I am so pleased for you - that you have found writing to be healing.

    Btw, that is a beautiful treasury! ☺

    Love to you ♥♥

    ReplyDelete
  9. Megan, I agree. Expression through language is a great way to lift burdens. And, in my opinion, also a great way to get to know yourself a little. I've grown a lot through reading...and writing...I am so happy to hear about your mom! Goes to show that growth, and good relationships because of it, CAN happen!! :-))

    ReplyDelete
  10. Michele, Rough, these mother and daughter relationships, aren't they?! WHEW! Takes strength of character and patience...of which I hope you have lots of both!! Try writing. It really does work...even if nobody else sees it but you!

    And thanks for the nice words about my treasury too. I was going to put a link to it because it's still up. But I knew the link wouldn't last, so I decided not to bother. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for sharing, I am certain this post will help another daughter or mother. Revealing the truth is incredibly brave, and never forget how strong you are.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You mentioned Maya Angelou who is one of my favorite authors, poets, people....and I don't know her personally. What a wonderful soul she is :-) You never know who you touch from day to day or how you might make a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sweet Harper, I hope you're right. I don't know how 'brave' truth is, in this case. It is more 'necessary for sanity'!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Maritime, *Smiling*...So true, so true.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a strong and amazing woman you are! Love your poetry & continue to use your wonderful words to express yourself & your feelings. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Craftgal, WOW! How nice of you! Thank you...And just "try" to stop me from writing!!! :-))

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my... I am so sorry to hear that, Debbie!

    ((( BIG HUG!!! )))

    Big hug to your hubby too for being there and supporting you and just loving you for all these years :)
    I am also so so happy to know you because you are a wonderful and strong person! Love reading your blog too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Mariann, Thanks for the BIG HUG!! :-) I'll pass the big hug on to my hubby too. And you are so right...He has been an amazing rock of support! Everybody should have someone in their life just like him!...But not HIM! He's mine!!! LOL

    ReplyDelete

Wait!! Click the "Join This Site" button, and leave me a comment! I'd love to get your thoughts! ^_^