Monday, October 8, 2007

My revelation

Chris reminded me in her comments that it doesn't matter how quickly we heal because everyone is different. Thanks Chris! I still want to explain why I feel like I am having trouble.

My parents divorced when I was 7. My mom, Ann, just up and left. She didn't say goodbye, give us a hug or anything. It was the day before Mother's Day. We didn't hear from her again for 3 or 4 days.

She completely changed after she left, but it is hard for me to describe how. For the first year after she left, we went to her apartment every other weekend for visitation. We hated it. We weren't allowed to bring our toys, bikes, or books. When we were there, she mostly read her romance novels or left us to watch TV in her bedroom. Rarely did she spend time with us. We fixed our own meals, went to bed when we wanted, and got up when we wanted. I don't think there were any rules.

Sometime shortly after my dad remarried, Ann disappeared for the first time. After a few months, we started missing her really bad and Mom (my step-mom) found her for us. She was living in another state and had remarried. After Mom got in touch with her, Ann sent us kids letters for awhile, usually filled with stuff about how we never wrote to her. We would dutifully write back, including artwork, school pictures, etc., only to eventually have the mail "returned to sender, no forwarding address". The disappearances became longer and longer sometimes a couple of years. It got to the point that I began calling her by her first name.

She would sometimes show up at our doorstep unannounced. The summer after 8th grade she showed up and wanted to take us to Oklahoma to spend the summer with her. She didn't call or write first, just showed up. I refused to go. My brother and sister went for 2 weeks. Their experience told me I was glad I didn't go.

She would show up at other times unannounced and expecting us to drop everything to hang out with her. My baptism was the first, we were planning on going to my grandmothers and have a big meal to celebrate. Instead of her joining us, she insisted on taking us kids to lunch. I went even though I didn't want to. She showed up the morning of my high school graduation the same way. I would change my plans to be with her, so I wouldn't hurt her feelings and then I wouldn't hear from her for months. She never seemed to care about my feelings.

Later in life I found out she wasn't ready to me a mom when I was born. I am told that after I was born the nurse handed me to her, and she looked at the nurse and said, "what do I do now?" My Mom tells me about a time before Ann left that they were both at the ice skating rink watching the kids skate. Ann turned to my Mom and said, "Do you ever regret having kids?" Mom vaguely even knew who Ann was. They attended the same church but had different friends. Mom said she never forgot that and thought it was strange a person she barely knew would say something like that.

I have worked a long time to forgive Ann, most of the time I feel like I have. Other times, the hurt seems so fresh that I wonder how I could forgive her. She is bipolar, her life growing up was not great, she never wanted to have children but had 3 by age 25. I guess the day she left, she had finally cracked. Part of me feels really sorry for her.

Ever since she left, I have had difficulty forming relationships with other people. Even my friends never really knew me because I wouldn't let them. I was too scared to get close to anyone else and have them leave me.

M changed that. He was persistent, patient, and kind. He knew how to allow me to trust him. He helped me heal and because of him I have been able to develop friendships with other people.

So, all that leads me to why I think I have had such a hard time healing from my loss. When I found out I was expecting, I immediately started thinking about that baby. I imagined a life with him and then it was all taken away. I know it is cliche to blame your parents for your problems, but I really feel like my feelings stem from Ann leaving. Now I just need to figure out how to heal.


Geohde said...

I'm glad that you found your revelation.

I hope that you figure out the best way to use it.



Chris said...

You have sure been through a lot, and are a smart cookie for connecting the dots. You will heal, all in time.

Sarah said...

that all makes a lot of sense, and i hope it gives you some peace.

niobe said...

This makes a great deal of sense and I hope writing it down has helped you. It certainly helps us to understand you better.

Your post also kind of turned on a lightbulb for me. I've always worried why I tend to feel my loss *less* than other people seem to. And I think that (while my circumstances were not exactly the same as yours) my early experiences with loss and betrayal made me kind of expect that those things would keep on happening to me. When they did, I wasn't nearly as surprised as someone who had led an easier life might have been.