First, I don't think of my mother as a bad person for what she did. I have forgiven her for the most part because I do remember that she was such a wonderful person when she was sober, and she had a lot of friends, even at the end. My mother had a big heart, and cared a lot about people. I personally think, based on stories I have heard about her past, that she married my father because she saw him as a good provider who knew where he was going and what he wanted to do. And when she realized that everyone was right that he was a jerk, too, she was too stubborn to admit it. And the longer she blocked out all the signals she had made a mistake, the deeper she dug her grave. When my father said he wanted no children, ever, he meant it. She defied him and had me. At a very bad time. And I was the beginning of the end of their relationship. She couldn't face her own life, and so turned to drinking to hide it. We all make mistakes in life, and I know I've had my share. While I think her life choices were unfortunate, I think she was just trying to live out a dream she carved for herself, but couldn't tell the difference between a dream and denial at the end. I bet if she could see me now, she'd see I succeeded anyway, once my father was out of the picture. I think she'd be happy to see me as I am now.
One of the most annoying things about this is I have no gravesite, no closure of any kind to my mother's death. I have that with my grandmother, since I had her buried back in Iron Mountain next to her husband. It is far away, and I won't be able to visit her grave often, but I can visit it if I really have to. My mother? Dust in the wind. I have no idea if my father did scatter her ashes across the Chesapeake, or just tossed them in the garbage. So my last memory of my mother is that she was a purple corpse on her bed, and the last thing I said to her was a poor way to say goodbye.
As for my father? The complex man that he is, I don't really fault him with "causing" her death. He didn't force my mother to take those pills. My mother could have easily up and left him, but she never would. Although I never saw or suspected my father ever laying a hand on my mother, if you want to know why she stayed with him, go to your local battered women's shelter, and ask all of them; you will be sickened at how educational this will be. His reactions to her death were personal, and he dealt with them the only way he knew how. I would honestly say he controlled the whole event, and ended it in a neat little bow. He always has to be in control, it means more to him than anything. He could have only made it even more perfect if he's have gotten rid of me or something, which he sort of did (remarried, moved away, won't speak to me), but not in any effective way for me to shut up. I recall he said, "Don't worry about her death, in the end you will only remember the good things, and never remember the bad things." Well, I am sure he did just that.
I try and comfort myself that having no parents is a blessing. I won't have to deal with all the crap that most of my friends are dealing with now. I don't have to deal with Alzheimer's, sibling rivalry, inheritance, or retirement homes. I don't have to worry about grandparents spoiling my son or telling embarrassing stories about me as a child (although, honestly? I'd love to hear any stories of me as a child, but my family was too isolated for anyone have any anecdotes). Yes, my father is still alive, and in San Diego somewhere. My father's death will be swift when it comes, because he doesn't believe in doctors. The very idea of someone knowing something he doesn't would be too terrifying (which is my reasoning why he's an atheist), so my guess is he'll get sick and refuse to see anyone about it, and then die from something that might have possibly been curable. I wonder if Nicole will tell me when he dies. I hope so, and if asked to be at the funeral, I'd go and be civil, of course. But I suspect if she does, it will be one of those, "Oh, your father died a few months ago," just like my paternal grandmother did to my father when his father died. Yeah, that side of the family has its share of strangeness.
But sometimes, like in the last few days, there is a kind of nagging, sucking loneliness. I try an rationalize, "You wouldn't want your parents around now, would you? Your dad's a jerk, you mom would be calling you drunk several times a week..." But sometimes, I do feel a bit like an orphan, abandoned by some hellish flaming spawn of a marriage that consumed itself and left me as only a cinder. Like if I do something really successful, I don't have anyone to congratulate me. I mean, I have my wife and friends, but no one... no one authoritative. Same with consolation. I have to structure or role models other than ones I just adopt. Sometimes, I am a little jealous of people who still have a parent or two that cares and supports, and at times get angry when that's taken for granted ("My father won't pay for my honeymoon, he's an ass!"). But, I try not to let that get to me, and I get over it, and go forward.
Last thing to say is that I debated whether to post this story at all, because it is pretty personal. Will my father see it? Maybe. He'll claim I made it all up, of course, because he always accuses me of being stupid and a liar, and I don't mind anymore because once you realize that he always says that, about most everybody, you just stop hearing it. Will someone like Benny post mean things in my comments section about what a whiny Goth-wannabe I am? Yes. Will one of my mother's old friends read this and go, "It wasn't a stroke? Yes it was, it HAS to be! Oh my God... I never knew, someone should have told me... aaaaahhhhhh!" I hope not. Sorry to all those people I lied to about how she really died. But the cathartic release of finally writing all this down was really, really worth it. I feel now I can stop thinking about it.
Thank God this is over.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000280.html