Friday, April 13, 2007

Can't Win for Losing

I always wondered about that expression. You can’t win for losing. I find myself with my hands held up, trying to say I give, okay, I’m bad, okay, I’m the problem.

It’s never enough.

There are people in my family of origin who think I killed my mother. My hurtful letter, my distance, my accusations killed her.

Okay, I have said. I don’t agree but they can hold that opinion.

It’s not enough.

Because I don’t believe I killed her. I believe years of alcohol abuse killed her. If she hadn’t started drinking heavily because of me? It would have been for another reason.

I hurt her, I have been told. I have no idea how much I hurt her.

Actually, I do. It wasn’t the first time down that road between my mother and I. In many ways, it was a circle. The anger hurt/ furious/ despair/ forgiveness/ happiness back to anger circle. It was about the tenth time. Starting when I was in college and she disowned me for the first time. I had hurt her so deeply because I was a lesbian.

No one remembers that. No one talks about it because she didn’t die right afterwards.

But according to my mother? It was the single most horrible thing I ever did to her.

Until the next time. When I was twenty-four years old and needed to have separation from her in order to have any idea about who I was. I told her no contact. Don’t call, don’t write, I will be in touch when I am ready. It was six months. At the end, she came into therapy with me and we figured things out.

Those six months? It was the worst thing I had ever done to her. The most hurtful. The most horrible.

And then I told her I was going to have a baby. I was trying to get pregnant. She told me she was going to move to Australia. It would be impossible for her to continue living in Rochester. The shame was too great. I was so selfish. Only I would bring a child into the world as a lesbian, only I was that self-absorbed.

No one remembers because she didn’t die at the end of it. She didn’t even move. She grew to be a wonderful grandmother to my sons.

And then there was my move to Rochester and quick move back to Boston. That was the most hurtful thing I had ever done until my wedding that I didn’t include her in a way she wanted to be included and then THAT was the most hurtful thing I had ever done.

Sensing a pattern here? I have always disappointed my mother. I always hurt her. Over and over and over again.

Deeply. She let me know. She never forgave me. Not for being a lesbian, not for cutting her out for six months not for anything. Not even for having babies. Yes, she loved them with all her heart. And she thought I was so wrong to have done that to children.

This time? As we walked through a similar pattern, time ran out. Her body gave out.

I have been told I have no idea what I did.

I find that … a statement that comes from a lack of acknowledging my history with my mother.. Where were they during all the other times? Nowhere, is the answer. Nowhere.

Or maybe everyone got used to me coming back and making it all okay.

Because I always did. I took care of my mother. Until the end. I ran back looking for forgiveness. I could not stand hurting my mother. I could not stand her pain. I wanted desperately to make it better. It wasn’t just her circle- it was mine, too.

I didn’t fix it.

Did that kill her? No.

It was only another circle. It didn’t get finished.

At least not face to face. She speaks to me over and over again. I hear her acceptance some days her anger others. She and I will never be done with our circles. Because I loved her.

She loved me.

Flawed, painful, hurtful- absolutely. Both ways.

I’m never going to finish my circle with her. She’s dead. I’m still here. I hold my hands up trying to catch a break.

But you know? I can’t win for losing.


Anonymous Cathy said...

What's that saying?
Stupid is as stupid does?
How stupid is anyone to think you killed Mom!
But hey, at least you got some credit. I didn't talk to her for two years before she passed, and I wasn't blamed for her death, didn't get any credit for it at all!
I thought someone (the medical examiner) said she died from, I believe extreme renal failure, right? Oh and Cirrhosis of the liver, and stomach cancer. Funny, I didn't know how to spell Cirrhosis, so I looked it up under alcoholism on the site. There wasn't one entry about how a hurtful letter from a daughter causes that. Wow Sis what talent you have, that must of been some letter to cause that to happen in her!
I was there 5 hours before she died,I spoke to her, as she snored. She was already gone, but still breathing. I told her I forgave her for being such a mean person to me, and such a bad bad Mom. I told her I forgave her for her alcoholism. Which I didn't really. I told her I had to stay away because she hurt me too deeply when ever I came around her.
I have wished several times that I had written her a letter. Telling her of my pain, begging her to stop drinking so that JUST MAYBE in her last days, we could have some kind of good relationship, make some sort of good memories. But I knew it wouldn't of done any good. I knew it wouldn't of changed a thing.
Her disease was already to far along.
She had been dieing for a few years. She willingly killed herself. She chose to keep drinking and smoking even though the Dr.'s told her it was killing her and her time was short.
I really hate that anyone, family or not, has blamed Sara for her death. There was only one person responsible for that, and her name was Anne.
What kind of person would take medical facts, ignore them, and blame someone who had nothing to do with it?
That's pretty sad and I feel sorry for the stupid people that think that way. I guess it's just easier to blame you than to deal with the truth.

1:34 AM  

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