Friday, February 18, 2011

MOM

Today is February 17th 2011, probably just another day to most people.  It's my mothers birthday today, I've been thinking about her all day. Sad that she lives within an hour of me and I never see her, talk to her or know how she is doing.  
The last contact I actually had with her was 3 years ago when my stepdad, Gary  died.  I got a phone call from Susan May, one of my mothers good friends.  It was weird to hear this familiar voice on the phone, she told me that Gary was in the hospital, he had fallen at work and was in a coma.  She asked me if I would like to come to the hospital and be there with my mom when they took him off of the life support.  I had to think about that one for awhile, I asked her if I could call her back.  I called both my sisters and asked them what they thought, both Sonya and Kris said "no way were they going, and that I shouldn't either" I went into my room knelt down to pray and asked the Lord what I should do.  The answer came quick and clear, "yes" so I gathered my family around and asked them if they would go with me, Eric did not feel comfortable going, and was really against it, however, I am my own woman and I had to do what I had to do.  Saturday came quickly, the drive over to the hospital was agonizing for me, I have not seen my mom or dad for at least 16 years, my head was spinning trying to imagine how this was going to go down.  There was this small part of me that was excited, I realized that now maybe my mom and I could start over and begin to heal this much needed relationship.  My children were so great to go with me, they dropped everything they were doing on a Saturday and went with me to see people they have never met, well actually they had met them but the last time we saw them was on Kaitlyn's 1st birthday and now she was 16 almost 17.  Haleigh is the only child that they have never actually seen, she was born after all this happened.  When we walked into the hospital room is was small and cold, I did not recognize my mother, the mom I used to know was taller and much softer, this woman was hunched over, very short and crippled up with Arthritis. I walked up to her and gave her a hug, it was so extremely uncomfortable, my eyes water up right now when I think about it.
Not too many words were exchanged, I introduced her to my children, I remember sitting in a chair close by her and facing her, Blake was standing behind me holding his hands on my shoulders as if to protect his mama from whatever he expected was going to happen next.  Haleigh sat on my lap, Kaitlyn behind me next to Blake and Kayla on my right side holding my hand.  What a sight we must of been, I'm not sure what thoughts were going through my childrens heads but I know I was thinking "what am I doing here?"  It almost felt as if I was in a dream and I could not wake up.  My chair was at the foot of Gary's bed, it was hard for me to look at him, all the flood of bad memories were sure to well up  and surface as tears in my eyes, I can't do that right now I need to be strong and show no emotion.   My mom and I had small talk, like always, even though I have not talked to her in so long it's always small talk with her nothing too deep, nothing that she would have to think about or admit to. Not much has changed in that department for her.  I'm not judging her, I just think she looks mad, sad she has carried all this anger with her for so many years that I think she has a hard heart, always wanting me to feel like she is one step ahead of me.  When I introduced her to Hales my mom looked right at her and said "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, I USED TO SEND YOU BIRTHDAY CARDS EVERY YEAR BUT SINCE I NEVER HEARD BACK FROM YOU I STOPPED"
The mother bear in me wanted to come across the floor and seriously give her a slap across the face, no-one, and I mean no-one talks to my children like that, instead I let it go and decided that it was not worth it, maybe she is testing me, besides the Lord knows my heart he is the only one who knows where my heart is.
There were some other people it the room including her Bishop, and friends of hers from her church, one of them said outloud in a sarcastic voice "you have a daughter?, where has she been all this time?"  again, I had to refrain from using the words I wanted to, I just sat there waiting for my moms response..... she said nothing, what could she say, we were all there, and I know the real story, so of course she is not going to say anything, she'll wait until I'm gone then she'll fill them all in on what a horrible daughter I am, how I hurt them and ruined their lives.  The nurse came in and said it was time to start the process on Gary, she explained that once they take him off of the life support his body should struggle for a few breaths then he will just go to sleep.
Then my mom looked at me and said "you can go hold his hand and whisper to him if you want to Monya"
a wave of ugliness just went through my body, I can't explain it in words but there was no way in HELL I was going to whisper anything in this mans ear, he tortured me and made my life a living hell for so many years, I cannnot think of one good memory with this man.  I politely said "I'm good, no thanks" then I heard a sigh from someone in the room as if to say "are you kidding me, this is the last time you have to say good-bye" In my head I had said good-bye many, many years ago, now I realize that demon I can never say good-bye to, it lingers in the back of my mind and surfaces when it feels like it. 
They came in took him off life support and believe me when I tell you this, it did not go down like the sweet little nurse said it would.  His body immediately started to gasp for air, his head popped back, mouth open and his body went into convulsions, it was the most awful thing I have ever experienced in my life, and I had my children with me, this was their first experience with death, what the heck was I thinking taking them with me?  I was grateful when they were able to experience the death of Eric's dad Ray Williams just a few months later, it was the same setting except he just went to sleep and it was peaceful as he left this life and went to live with our Heavenly Father, it reminded me of the day Gary left this life, who did he go to live with? because that was one of the most awful experiences of my life.  One of the interesting things about it was there was not much emotion from my mom, she cried a little, then it was all business. She didn't even hold his hand or stand by him.  I cried thinking about what my children had just gone through, they had shock on their faces.
 My mom asked me if I would like to help her with the funeral, I told her yes I would. Finally I thought we were going to heal, mend this tattered and torn mother daughter relationship.  I talked to my moms bishop for a few minutes out in the hallway and explained the strained relationship we have, he was so sweet and non-judgemental, he gave me his phone number and told me to call him with any questions.  I said good bye to my mom and off I went with my children close by, I mean really close I wanted to hug them and kiss them and never leave them.  On the way home it was quiet, I asked all of them how they felt, and they all had different answers but for the most part, it FREAKED them out, my mom freaked them out and they had nothing good to say.  I'm not sure if it's because of their loyalty to me, or they sincerely felt nothing.  They all said it felt very dark and yucky when he actually died, I agreed. 
The next day when I got home from church there were a couple phone calls I had received from my mom, so I called her back to see what I could help her with.  She proceeded to tell me about where to meet her tomorrow, (the funeral home) I asked her if I could pick her up,  but she said Susan would take her. She asked me to do the program for the funeral, I said I would love to do that for you.  In my mind everything was going so well, then all of a sudden it turned, and it turned for the worst.  She said "I just need to say one thing to you...."  Oh no, here it comes, I know that voice, and here it comes, I said "mom, please don't go there, lets just get moving forward and mend this." She started to raise her voice "Do you know what you did to our lives? You ruined our lives..."  I could not hold back "I ruined YOUR life, are you kidding me?"
Her quick reply was "you know he has been forgiven don't you, he did everything he was supposed to, and took care of all of his sins"  "Really?, seriously mom? what did he get forgiven for? because according to you he never did anything wrong?" by now my emotions were getting the best of me, I can hardly breath, I am crying uncontrollably and I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest once again.  Finally for the last time I confronted my mom and told her these words "I cannot go backwards mom, I need to continue to go forward I have finally forgiven Gary for what he did to me, I am finally at a good place in my marriage and with my family, we are happy, we love the Lord and rely on him continually for strength, sorry but I am not willing to do this with you .... good-bye" and I hung up, went into a fetal position and cried for over a month.  I called my sisters and they were sad for me, but knew that was what was going to happen, Susan said that my mom kept looking for me at the funeral home the next day, telling the funeral director that she was waiting for her daughter who drives a maroon suburban to show up, finally Susan had to tell her "she's not coming"  Within a month my dad Colby Belshe died, and Erics dad Ray Williams died 6 months later, 2008 was a hard year. 
Today as I think about my mother on her birthday I have a lot of mixed emotions.  My own children have told me over and over again that they are so proud of me and that they are glad I took them to the hospital on that dreadful day, they said it finally let them see into my heart, I loved that, I loved that they, my own children could see what my intentions were, they knew I wanted to mend and heal, but was not willing to go backwards in my life.   For now, I live with guilt,  and all kinds of emotions over my mother, but I know there is nothing I can do about it, I've tried so hard, so many times being shot down by the one person, my mother who is supposed to protect and teach me in love, no matter what age I am.  

5 comments:

The Roussels said...

i remember that day vividly. it was horrible. Ive never felt so much darkness (not sure if that's the best word to describe it). i remember afterward going over to Jeremy's house and breaking down, trying to explain the emotions that moment/experience brought was impossible. but im also so grateful for that day. i was so proud of you, you are so strong and resilient and that day it showed more than i had ever seen. i thought to myself that day that i hope i can can be as strong as you and be at least half the mother you are, to my own children. thank you for being such a beautiful, open, loving and strong mother. i love you.

Linda Bennett said...

I remember when you told me you were going to the hospital. I hoped it would be different than it turned out. Maybe you just needed her to let you down one last time so that you could get rid of some of that unnecessary guilt. You gave them both plenty of chances to mend the relationship those first few years. You're a strong woman and an amazing mother in spite of them. You've given your kids a wonderful example of love.

Amy Williams said...

Monya, you are such a beautifu, strong woman and this is proof! I hope you realize now that none of this is your fault, you tired and did everything you could to make a relationship with her. I truly admire you... I love you. AW

Anonymous said...

I understand. Take out details of time/place/persons, and this post could be mine. My mother's birthday was in January. It has been years for us, too. But I, also, will not go backwards . . .

Thank you so much, Monya.

Marilyn said...

You have learned to live in the moment this last year. To enjoy all the positive things that comes your way.... to appreciate the gifts of God....to love those who are around you....to laugh at the simple things that pop up in life.... to live in beauty with the world around you...It is time to shut that door...it has brought you so much pain over the years....

You have such a wonderful family....they are such a reward and joy to you....and I know you cherish them....

I love you Monya....your heart is pure....onward and upward!