April 4, 2010

5 years in the blink of an eye

So today is the anniversary of my mom’s passing. It’s been 5 years. It’s amazing to me that it has been so long, because it still seems like it was just a couple months ago. There are so many things I wish she was around to see. There are so many things that I wish she was around to ask her about. Things that myself, my brothers, and my daughter got robbed of.

I haven’t talked about how she died and why with a lot of people. Only my husband and my best friend know what really happened, and I’m not sure they even know all of it. I have mentioned the situation to a couple of other people, but it still makes me sad, so I try not to talk about it. I think that not talking about it, for me, is the same as trying to run away from it. So I thought that on this 5th anniversary of her death (which I think is a weird way of saying it) that I would get it all out. Here goes…..

My father was never really a part of my life. Towards the end of my mom’s life she admitted that she pushed my father out of our lives very early. Part of me agrees with that and there is another part of me that thinks if he really wanted to be a part of our lives, he would have fought for it. That’s neither here nor there though because it is what it is.

I don’t really remember a lot before I was 10 years old. I remember bits and pieces. I remember when my mom was diagnosed with Lupus, in 1987, and how she was pregnant with my brother Mason when it happened. I remember her being very upset about it. They gave her 2 years to live. She survived for just about 18 years. I don’t know if this happened before or after she was diagnosed, but I remember my father doing dishes in our apartment, when we were living in California. I was standing in the kitchen watching him when all of a sudden he stopped and ran into the bedroom. I remember, very vividly, that my mom was bouncing on the bed and I thought it was funny. Then I noticed my dad was in a panic and screaming at me, 6 or 7 years old, to call 911. I remember he was shoving a brush in her mouth and I didn’t know why. I remember the firemen and the paramedics getting to our apartment and taking my mom away. I remember being really afraid.

In 1990 we moved to Arizona. It was the beginning of the best years of my life. My father had been working in Arizona for a while, so we decided to move out here to be close to him. It didn’t really work out. It turned out that the job in Arizona wasn’t long term, like they thought it was, and he was shipped back to California to work. He would come home after a couple of months to visit, but it really did nothing to create a relationship with him for any of us kids. He would come home, get shit faced and become an asshole. This went on for a long time. I don’t remember when it was he finally stopped drinking, but by then it was just too late for us to start a real relationship. My brother and I were teenagers and already angry at the way he had been with us.

So in 2000 I had my daughter, Carley. At this point my brother and I had already graduated high school, so my parents decided to move back to California. I had to go with them as I was unemployed and very young and I wasn’t able to support myself and a child. We moved to a town called Clearlake, CA. The town was tiny and the lake did not live up to its name. Although I hated it there, I tried to make the best of it and got a job at Cheap Tickets, a 30 minute drive, and started taking general education classes in Napa, a 2 hour drive, at a community college. Things were ok there for me and my brothers. I was still able to visit Arizona to see my best friend and on a 21st birthday trip for her, met my future husband.

Things were not so great for my mom. She kept getting sick and having to go to the hospital. The conditions in the place we were living were not good to have to do the dialysis she needed. She would get an infection, and that infection would get worse and she would go to the hospital and the condition would worsen, instead of get better. She developed an infection of the lining the holds your insides together. Every time she would get sick, she would eventually bounce back to 100%. During this time I moved back to Arizona. My mom would call me and I would call her and we would catch up and for the first time ever, I felt like an actual adult.

During one of these phone calls I could tell that she was pretty upset. I asked her why and she told me that my father had gone to work in Puerto Rico and while there he had an affair. We were all pretty devastated about it, but she and my dad had talked and they realized that there were things in their marriage that had suffered as a result of my mom’s disease (which I thought was a pretty bullshit move on my dad’s part, also the beginning of many shitty things to come) and they were trying to work things out. Things went ok for them for awhile, until he cheated again. This time was pretty serious, as he wasn’t willing to work on things at home like he was before. He mentioned divorce to my mom and it broke her. I should say this is pretty much all my opinion of what happened, as I wasn’t there to see it firsthand. She was still having health problems and it seemed to us that she lost the will to fight to get better. Things went down very quickly and she was admitted to the hospital in Napa. I have some guilt about this time because I was here and living my life, and I thought it was just another time in the hospital. The last time I talked to her she was in a lot of pain and asked if she could call me back. I never got to talk to her again. While my mom was in the hospital for the last time, they put her under for a surgery. She never came out of it. She was in a coma while the doctors were trying to heal her many infections. We were told that it was pretty hopeless. So my uncle flew me out to California to say good bye. My father was so upset by what was happening that he had to bring his girlfriend to the hospital for emotional support. He thought that it was a good idea to sit my brothers and me down at a table in the hospital cafeteria and have a chat about why he brought his girlfriend with him, and that we should be able to accept it. He thought that we should try to have a relationship with his new girlfriend eventually.

We all pretty much responded how you would think. With a big fuck you asshole.

So I attempted to have a small relationship with him after that, looking for something I never really had. The resentment was too much. I blamed him, and still do to a certain extent, for my mom’s death. Part of me feels like if he had been there for her while she was in the hospital, if he had supported her and helped her try to recover, if he had been any kind of husband at all, that she would have gotten better and would still possibly be with us. The rational part of me says it was just her time. The emotional part of me is still very much upset about the circumstances surrounding her death and refuses to see reason.

I am sure there are things that I have left out or forgotten.

So, on this 5th anniversary of my mom’s death, I will raise a glass of iced tea in her honor.

I love you mom. You were everything to me. I miss you always.