My Mom pulled away from me after I sobbed for a bit, put me in the car gently, told me to stay there and she’d be right back. She disappeared into the barn for not so long, coming back with a determined look on her face.
She slid into the driver’s seat, looked at me with so much love, shame and sadness in her eyes. “We’ll never discuss this again, and it will never happen again. I promise.” And that was that.
Some of my childhood memories are clear and strong after I turned 14. I am filled with anger and resentment toward my dad, ready to fight back at every remark, every look.
My mom changed everything in my life after that fateful day in the barn. My dad moved to a bedroom we created downstairs – because he suddenly couldn’t climb the stairs anymore. I never went anywhere with him alone again, and was never alone with my grandmother. She and my mother barely spoke.
My mom and I became the best of friends. We went everywhere together, became pals as well as family. She and my dad stopped doing as many things together – only the church functions and public appearances for my piano recitals, horse shows, plays and such could get her out with him.
Everything changed. Yet I never really recognized that change as a big deal until I remembered that day with my mom. All the pieces fell into place like cards falling into a deck. Amazing how our subconscious works.
I’m at peace with my mom now. She finally saw the truth and stepped up to protect me. She never let bad things happen again. She is the reason that I am OK – better than OK. She gave me a gift of love beyond measure, doing everything in her power to give back what was stolen from me. She loved me so much, she helped me heal the wounds and bury the pain so deeply that I was functional – more than functional. I was successful. I was able to move forward in the world and create a great life – even with the scary voices that wracked my subconscious, that were crying to me to share my real story. Sure, my relationships were awful experiences as I searched for a way to heal my father – attracting conman after conman. But my life overall was fabulous.
What hurts me now is that my mom stayed with him, lived in that awful ugly world even when I moved out into my own life. I know he was good to her for a while – he adored her. Part of me says he never would have hurt her. But then again, he publicly adored me. So I wonder.
My mom always said she’d leave a man if he hurt her. Yet she stayed with him. Was there some buried story in her past driving her to stay with my father? Did she stay because she didn’t know how to leave him in my small town that would have frowned on divorce? Did she stay for her God that would have punished her for divorce?
My dad got meaner and meaner as he got older. It drives me crazy now, wondering what hell my Mom lived in the last few years of her life as her mind failed thanks to mini strokes. She lost her edge and I can’t help but believe he took advantage of her weakness. Did he punish her? Did she fear him? I’ll never know for sure. But something deep in my heart tells me she died younger than anyone else in her family, ever, just to get away from my dad.
She gave me the strength to move on – even though she didn’t have the courage, or the capacity, to move on herself.
How strange is life?
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