He text me, first indication that something was up. July was the first time. A stroke. I was on my way to Arizona for my 40th birthday celebration. Driving on a road trip.

I was frustrated. We are what we are and I am old enough to understand & accept. She has a life and she lived it. Hard it was and through it all at this point she is reaping what she sowed. I take it as a lesson.

I remember thinking how beautiful she was, outside. I was always afraid of her. She did not like me. She could not look at me without seeing him. Her hurt and pain at the lose. I understand the sting of being left behind, you think. I learned it well. I learned how to see lose, pain, lack, not enough, rejection, fear and anger. She boiled with rage and took it out on anyone and everyone. I wasn’t special.

I grew up with stories of windows being busted out with bricks and rocks. Rages of slashed tires, and angry exchanges. One of the stories I grew up hearing the most was potty training. How my mother would beat the sh%$ out of me and my aunties would have to come and save me.

Heres the thing she wasn’t always the one who started it,  but she taught me how to finish it. I didn’t realize how small she was because she felt so big.

She has no middle name. A first really is enough, Im 40 and in all my life I do not remember EVER a time that she greeted me with love. Was happy to see me or even welcoming to me. At best she is tolerant. I use to sit. Waiting for hours for her to show up. She often didn’t show nor call.  In her world she did the best for me, and she is RIGHT. I will never negate that. She gave me to anyone who could care for me when she could not. My father, her sisters, my grandmothers, or her friends. She was ok with leaving and not dragging me around. I am grateful that she did her best. I am not angry. But it is my life. We have a relationship of our own making.

She is like a snake or wild tiger that has been wounded and is old and has been abused. You ever see that movie with Whoopie Goldburg  Kingdom Come? There is a part in the movie when her spouse dies and they are contemplating what to put on his tombstone and his wife Whoopie says “Mean & Surly” he was mean and surly. That was a choice on how he chose to live. My mother is the same. She suffered from depression and who knows what else.

One thing I appreciated about my grandmother was that she told her truth about mental health. She never lied to me about the challenges that had been faced in my family. She told me how she had her first mental break down and being hospitalised. She described how she could not stop crying and screaming and worrying until the ambulance had to be called. She took a pill a day she said to keep the insanity at bay. She took pills to not feel the pain and then she took pills to feel. She told me how her heart hurt from angry words spoken and never able to take them back.

Regrets and mistakes that when left ignored and untreated fester and spread. Through the years she chose to feed the fear, pain and her regrets and I learned how to do the same thing. I learned how to expect hardship and look for troubles. I expected for the shoe to always be falling and for everything to be on the cusp of failing. That was the model of my life. Never enough, always regret sorrow. All valid, all real, all the journey without judgment. That does not negate my responsibility to maintain safety and distance. Always remembering that she is who she is and that is ok. Caution.

As I watched my mother, live through abusive relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, the lose of her career, mounting debt and over the years multiple debilitating health issues mounted until she is now very sick.

Sick internally and externally, a body can only take so much. Last night my brother text me to tell me he would be calling me… that is not a good sign. He called me to tell me that the ambulance had to take her in, again.  She was weak and could not move. I know the symptoms, this is our 3rd time with her. But more for me. I have lost count. I have stoped counting. Its not worth keeping track. I will not keep track anymore. I will no mark and look at all the loses experienced.

I am writing because I have been up sense about 430 am, maybe earlier. And my life is good. Despite it all my life is great. I am exactly where I need to be.

I love her. I make sure she is taken care of. I put in my best effort and at night when I lay down I am accountable and I rest easy knowing I have done my best. I have put down perfection and expectations of living up to something better, later. I tell the truth of my perspective, honoring the now I am in. The now.

Having a relationship with a person is optional. If my mother was NOT my mother Im really really sure we would never speak again, and she knows this. Shit she probably would not speak to me again if I was not her child. The funny thing is neither of us are hurt or angry. We accept that we are opposites. She doesn’t care for me, to see me or understand me. She has expressed to me she is SELFISH and has been her whole life. She talks about it with God and she is who she is. She loves me, she gave birth to me and kept me alive she says. And for that I love her and thank her, she does her very best and lives her life how she sees fit.

Don’t we all want love, less judgment and more understanding, and the ability to do the same? Reciprocity. And when I was able to understand that point I shifted. I separated her from my expectations and my immaturity. I stopped wishing it had been different and accepted HER story. I listened. Learned that she was and is always doing the best she can with what she has. With all that she has experienced I must always keep empathy in my heart. I cause no harm, wish no harm. So our relationship is about harm reduction. I see her every other week physically, because well even at the last stroke she likes to hit and yell. I know she is angry, I have empathy. So we talk shit to each other, she threatens to hit me and I threaten to send her to a home if she don’t act right, because she cant keep running off the help. AND she KNOW she cant live with me. She laugh and say, I know I cant live with you. Im to mean. & I agree.  We laugh.  I braid her hair, after I brushed it and oiled it good. I loved playing in her hair when I was a kid. Ill take it, today, any day. She sit, and eyes close, and she smile. She comment on how its growing and I tell her how pretty she is. In those moments, 2 times a week. We are. I am her seed, she is my roots and my tree. She is strong and able. NOTHING keeps her down. She has tenacity and ALWAYS finds a way. She has taught me to be resourceful. WORK hard, achieve what every I want, I can. Strive and never give up or in. My mother drove a Subaru in the 80’s and she worked in San Francisco in the Financial District. My mother worked for Pacific Bell… Hahahah do you know who that is now! She set the bar high and left a grand impression.

I was always striving to gain her attention and love, something learned and realized I had already. Then I realized I needed to have for myself.. And I did…

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