Well, within this past week, the 1-year anniversary of my mom's passing has occurred. I did not have a usual relationship with my mom...it was very strained, but even though we didn't see eye to eye much, she was still my one and only mom.
From as early as I can remember, we didn't have a very loving relationship. I guess that's where I get being a very stand-offish kind of person when it comes to showing affection to others. Which I wish would change, but now that I am almost 42 years of age, I doubt that it will. I am very uncomfortable in any kind of situation where any form of hugging another person may be inevitable. It's actually kind of sad when another wants to just hug for a holiday or put their arm around me to show any kind of closeness...I shudder when the opportunity arises. But that is me and I have lived with it for so long, it will not change...unfortunately. But I do try to express how I feel about people close to me in other ways and I hope that they know that I am trying to show them that I care about them in my way.
I remember a bunch of little memories of my mom. Some good, some bad. One memory I have when I was very little, before my brother (we are 7 years apart) came along, is my mom in the living room of my grandma and grandpa’s apartment on Ocean Avenue and Glenwood Road, and me telling my mother that I know that she doesn’t love me while running into the kitchen. My mom came in after me and told me that she did, and wiped my tears away. She let me know what a good girl I was and that she was sorry that she was not home all the time. What felt like within minutes, the doorbell rang, he friends walked in, and she got her coat on and left, leaving me behind with my grandparents. I know that I can’t fault her for it, she was young when she had me…21, so she needed to have a social life, but I can only account for the way I felt, and at age 7, you really don’t understand other people’s feelings.
When I look back on a lot of it, I know that she was probably trying to do her best with what she had. She was a single mom all of my life. She never got married, never had a permanent love in her life, but she would also tell me that she wanted it that way. So I am not sure if she ever searched for it, or just shunned it away. My father, my brothers father and most men that I knew as 'uncles' in my life, were married to other women. I know my mother knew that before she decided to spend time with them, so I assume that she wanted to be with a man that already had a life outside of my mother's life. She would tell me that she liked being on her own. She liked that her 'boyfriends' would only come over when they could, which was not often, and then leave her to herself to do whatever she wanted. She didn't have to answer to anyone, but she also had no one to talk to.
From as early as I can remember, she has had one addiction or another which in turn made her very moody. Either she was on cloud nine, as happy as anyone can be which made her a joy to be around, or she would be the meanest, nastiest person that you couldn't wait to get away from.
I can't say that I had the worst childhood, because where we lived in Canarsie, Brooklyn, I had a lot of close friends that I am still in touch with now that I would hang out with from the time I got home from school until I had to go to bed. I also had and still do have a love of music that would take me away from everything that was going on around me. She did always keep a roof over my head, even if we moved more than I would have liked to, we always had food on the table, dishes that I ask Jeff to make me now just to remind me of those days, and I have a sense of independency from various things she would teach me, like how to change a flat tire, check the fluids in my car, change a washer in a faucet, and other things that I can thank her for showing me.
I guess I can bitch and moan if I want for all the things that were bad, I can pitch a fit for various times that she was not there for me or did things that a mom shouldn’t do, but there is nothing I can do about it now except to learn and grow from it. Although I do hate the saying, it seems a bit appropriate…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Either you can take what is dealt you in life and rise above, or you can give in to it and become what you are trying to avoid.
I do have to say that now that I am older and have grown to understand how life kind of works, because I don’t think you can ever have that down…I am grateful that my mom did try her best although I may not have agreed with most of the things she had done in her life, it is because of all things that I am who I am now. So there has to be some kind of thankfulness on my part, right? No one is perfect, and unless you can walk on water, there are things that you have done in your life that you either regret or wish you had done differently…I will just hold on to the fact that even though my mom may have never apologized for certain things that she had put me through, I am sure she never wanted them to happen and did regret or want to do to them over. I may never know the real answer until I see her again beyond this life, but for now that is how I will always think, it makes me feel better that way and that’s all I can do.
Even though we weren't close, even though we may have never seen eye to eye...You were still and always will be my mom. One year ago you hopefully found all the love, peace and happiness that I know you were always searching for.
Rest in Peace Forever Mom.