Another Denial of My Past


Not much to say about how I feel right now, thanks to a Valium I'm numb enough, 'cause it's a little too much to deal with at full force. Was hoping in ya'lls stories to find someone else with a similar experience, but I guess not here. Perhaps this is more about me than the people whose deaths I am writing about, but I never really knew either of them so I suppose that's all it can be.

My mother died when I was 2 in a car accident, drunk driver from the other direction. I was at my grandparents in southern Washington, my father and mother were returning from a business trip, had about another 1/2 hour to go. Incidentally, my father's father, who died of a heart attack while driving home from Seattle with my grandmother, died on the exact same stretch of road. I found this out when I was road tripping to my grandmother's a few summers ago, we were having car problems and so behind schedule. I didn't understand why she was so relieved when I arrived, she knew I was coming in on that same road.

How the loss of my mother has affected my life is not something I completely know or will ever. I have pictures, but no memory of her at all. I know I inherited many of her traits, she was very creative and artistic; I make my living as an artist now. there is a trunk full of her things at my parent's house it would help me to have, but I am denied that (at least for now?). Which I suppose is the theme of this writing.

Mind you, I feel I am a pretty balanced person, and aware. I try my best to understand and know myself, and to be honest with myself. but I don't understand why the family part of my life has been the way it has, what I am meant to learn from this, why I must continually become stronger and stronger (either that or collapse).

When I was 5 1/2 a lady came to be my "governess." I asked her if I could call her my mother; I think there was nothing in the world I wanted than to have a mother like all the other kids. I had no experience of having a mother.

Six months later my father married her. I had a mother - she legally adopted me. My first sister was born when I was 8 and my second when I was 11. They were both born at home and I was as much a second mother to them as their big sister. we were very close. Our whole family was close, not quite typical of modern day American families - we had no TV, we spent most of our time altogether, we ate dinner together every night.

In high school my mother started flipping out. she lived at home until she was 28 and then married my father 1/2 a year later. She never had her own life and I understand now this was the reason for all her unhappiness and behavior, but not then. she took it all out on me through high school - though I was a very good and responsible child. I was pretty much suicidal throughout high school due to verbal abuse that I had no choice but to believe as I was guilted into not ever telling anyone.

I was away from college for a year and though I didn't talk much about my adopted mother it got through enough that maybe I shouldn't believe all she said. So when I went home for the summer and she treated me the same it came down to I could kill myself for once and for all, or I could leave. So I left.

I'm getting wordy, so I'll try to condense the rest. basically, 8 years later I have virtually no communication with my parents - they seem to consider themselves a happy family of 4 (and have taught my sisters to hate me by telling them I left because I did not love them anymore). My adopted mother has cut off pretty much all communication with my father's family (and forced him to as well, he is the eldest son of 5), with her parents and family and years ago with my birth mother's parents and family. she has completely rejected me, and my (birth) father as well - he emails every once in awhile, but I think he is too scared to loose a second wife that he will not stand up to her so he can have a relationship with the one thing left him from his first wife.

So nix the family. My life began when I was 18, I have a very hard time remembering much of anything before that unless I think very hard about it. I have none of them anymore. My birth mother, my birth father, my adopted mother and my two baby sisters (they are 19 and 15 now, I haven't been able to speak with them or see them in 8 years). When I left home I only took what I could carry on my back (didn't know where I was going), came back a week later to get some more things and they had changed the locks and taken away the neighbor's copy of the key. I have maybe two possessions from the first 18 years of my life, they will not let me have anything else - if they even still have it.

I last saw my birth mother's parents when I was 10, I think, if not before that. Before my mother said they were being mean to her and cut them off. I haven't seen them in 16 years, I called them about 7 years ago for the first time in years and talked to my grandma, but she was already somewhat senile and we ended up discussing the weather.

Well, anyway, half way through my shift at work tonight my roommate called and said my grandfather had died, my birth mother's father. I have had a lot of death in my life - aside from these people various close friends of mine have died. I try to understand the balance of life and death and focus on the memory. In memory, the spirit lives on. But I can not really grieve for these particular losses, for there is no memory, in my conscious mind. At first when I heard about my grandfather tonight I thought I would be ok, I didn't really know him. Now that I am home from work and it is sinking in, I am crying. but I am not grieving for him as much as for myself and what I will never get to know. The relationship I will never have. why has this been taken away from me, the pieces of my life are being removed one by one. You can not have your mother; your new mother (and adopted mother, not stepmother - it was HER choice) and your birth father don't want you anymore, my birth mother's mother is insane and now her father is dead and I'll never have the chance to know. My parents will not give me the relics of my past and my childhood. I think I need to grieve for my mother and I do not know how to grieve for her according to my usual dealings with loss. I try, perhaps the only times I succeed are the (even at age 26) times I lie in bed and cry because there is nothing in the world I want more at the moment than my mother, a mother. I empathize with all that have lost a parent, but please honor the memories, hold on to the memories, because at least you have them and they are a sacred thing.

In my life, since I was 18, I have created my family - they are my friends, but they are my family. And guess who is the mother, the one who will not ever have one.


You can send email to Drea at: [email protected]
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anniversary date mother: 08-17-73 grandfather: 01-25-98
date of post 01-26-98

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW