There are times, like tonight, when the little things from my past really dig at me. Given the SRA background, I truly have had some rather horrific experiences. Maybe on nights like tonight, though, when the big things are quiet, the smaller memories feel like popping up.
Two memories in particular are really bothering me. The first is the memory of my mother’s face when she was crying and trying to have dinner at the same time. My father had really hurt her. I don’t remember, even, what he had done that time, but he demanded that things go on as though nothing had happened. I remember watching my mother cry silently while nearly choking on a baked potato, and I remember the feeling of disgust that settled in my stomach just then. It’s been roughly twenty years since that day, and the memory still hurts more than one would think. I want to go back in time and tell that woman who was my mother that nothing she did made her deserve to be treated like that. I want to take care of her and to help her see the wonderful person she was. It was my pleasure to have done what little I could to teach her about the good side of life after I had grown up and learned those lessons myself, and before she died, I really think she had experienced a bit of the happiness that can only be brought about by trusting in someone’s unconditional love.
I truly did love my mother unconditionally, but that does not stop me from being incredibly angry with her still sometimes. She was very abusive to my sister and me, and at times I was terrified of her. Still, I took the role of caretaker for her and did the best I could. It’s another one of those hard lessons I’ve learned as an adult– there are no excuses at all for what my mother did, but there are reasons. That’s helped me deal with some of the memories regarding her violence without losing sight of the fact that I loved her.
Anyway, the other little memory that’s bothering me tonight is the memory of my mother breaking all of my little sister’s toys. My sister and I had gotten into an argument over some stupid little thing that sisters typically go on about. It was so inconsequential that I haven’t got a clue of what it was now. It was nearing my sister’s fifth birthday, and my mother announced to me that since my sister had been so mean to me we would buy her a broken toy. I look back on that with a feeling of disgust as well. What kind of parent puts a child in that sort of position? When I got upset and asked her not to do that, she got angry, went inside, and broke every toy that my sister owned. I’ll never forget the look on my sister’s face. She didn’t fight at all– she just looked defeated. I hate that, and at the time I’m sure I hated my mother. Learning to forgive her for what she did, though, frees me from some of that pain. I’m not at all ready to forgive completely, but as each memory gets processed a little more of the space filled with pain, anger and fear empties, leaving room for the better things in life.
Disgust describes my feelings perfectly. I look back on things without focusing on the details, and it all plays out like some sick charade. For years I tried to minimise my past, and now I’m trying to break away from that pattern. It isn’t easy, and sometimes the memories make my stomach turn and cause me to become physically ill. I feel surrounded by all of it again. It’s moments like that and nights like tonight when I have to look at the wonderful people who are in my life now and allow myself to feel free of it all, even if only for a little while. Years ago one of my FOC told me his corner of the rug holding me up would always be secure. I still go back to that phrase time and again to remind myself that I don’t have to handle everything on my own any more. It’s so hard to trust that those who truly love you and offer their support will keep their word, but the feeling of relief that comes from allowing someone else to shoulder part of the burden for a while can’t be matched by anything else. It’s not selfish– it’s an essential part of healing.
Warm smiles and hugs to my FOC, local and afar.