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Monday, January 29, 2018

Life and Death and Life Again


The death of my mother two days before Christmas has left me with much to say but no real way to say it. I meant what I said when I said I wasn't going to grieve much when she went. It was time for her to go and we knew it was coming.

Still, the circumstances contrived to make it just that much more ... I don't know. Stupid is the wrong word but I can't really think of a different one. It was a Saturday and I was getting ready to blog about how it was exactly four years ago that day that David died. And then my sister called.

And I couldn't write one single word.

Two days later at Christmas dinner, the consensus among my brothers and me was that we were surprised she didn't die on Christmas Day, therefore ruining one last Christmas for us. She used to do that, pull some dramatic trick just to make sure no one was happy on the happiest day of the year. She used to have the Christmas tree down and all the decorations put away by noon, too.

You're shocked, I know. In some ways, it was a great relief to know she was finally gone, finally unable to affect us negatively in person. Unfortunately, her legacy is that she negatively affects us even in death, by the way she raised us and how we had to deal with her nonsense over the years.

Now we have no parents. My dad died 11 years ago January, and frankly, while not a perfect father in any sense, I miss him more than I'll ever miss my mother. 

But dealing with the death of my mother isn't a good thing. In my head, or rather, in other people's heads, I'm supposed to be heart-broken at the loss of a parent and apparently unable to be happy ever again. 

At least, that's what one church lady was telling me. This church lady is sweet and sincere. I didn't have the heart to tell her how relieved I was I never had to deal with my mother again. 

Here's my mother's legacy to me: I was the birth control pill she forgot one morning. I was going to be fat just like her when I got older. She pitied the man I married. When I got pregnant with my oldest, she wanted to know why I did that to her. She wrote a scathing letter before my wedding, telling me how awful I was and that I was only getting married to have a father for my child. And then she showed up at the wedding.

Yeah.

And the ultimate legacy, she passed down her mental illness to me. Not just to me, to all of us. We have all dealt with it as best as we could, hopefully better than she did. 

Here's the thing, though: I have no doubt in my mind that she's with the Lord. Despite her emotional abuse, her attitude of victimhood, her absolute certainty that nothing was ever her fault; she loved God. And He loved her.

Just as He loves me. 

I just wish I could remember some of the good things and describe them here.