Wednesday, February 6, 2008

An Appology

Dear Mama,

I’m sorry. I feel like I let you down. I’ve heard some really terrible things about what was happening to you as you died and I’m sorry. I wish that I’d have listened to my gut. You’d think that I would by now. I’m psychic you know? I always have been, apparently. Remember those psychic dreams I used to have about THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB books? Anyway, I thought I was justified in not listening to my gut. I figured that I was probably just crazy. Or that only a horrible person would believe such crazy things about their own father. But I should have stood up for you. I should have said something. I should have been by your side for the whole freaking ordeal. Then I’d know if what they all say is true. Then none of it could be true- because I’d have protected you from him. If I had it to do all over again, I would have had Michael come and get you. You’d have died in our care. But there’s nothing we can do about it now, is there?

I remember when he told me. I had just woken up that morning. Michael came home from work. He curled into the bed with me and very carefully said, “Your mom passed away this morning.” “What time?” I asked. “Around 1:00” he replied. With a lump in my throat, I asked, “Did she go peacefully?” I felt numb. I wanted to go with you. I remember calling friends but I don’t remember much more until the memorial service.

Your funeral was amazing. There were so many people there to honor your life. You would have been so incredibly touched. I was still in shock at that point. I barely cried at all that day. I sat in the funeral director’s office working on the eulogy and missed visiting with many people. Brother Jack and Brother Gill spoke. Then I spoke. I talked about the similarities between your death and Ronin’s birth. How you both made your great journeys at home. Everyone told me that I did a good job. I just hoped that I had made sense because now I can’t make head nor tails of the notes. I don’t remember much except looking into the audience and focusing on Eric’s face. Why I chose my cousin’s husband, I don’t know. But he seemed to be feeling more than anyone else. I appreciated the look in his eyes. It’s so strange, the unexpected sources of comfort you encounter.

I’m sorry that I was so very wrapped up in aesthetics that day. I’m not typically a person to be concerned about appearances but for some reason, your funeral was a different story. I was very concerned about finding the perfect thing to wear. I kept thinking that I was performing and that I was going to see a bunch of people that I’d not seen in years. I may as well look nice. Not to mention, I had to somehow compensate for the fact that I was still fat from having a baby. I’m not sure why your funeral brought out such an unusual quality in me but for some reason I was really preoccupied with it that day. And I’m sorry that I was so embarrassed by your family. Certain members of your family showed up that day and I was humiliated. I didn’t want them there and I didn’t want people from church, my in-laws, or even my own husband to know that I had ever even associated myself with such lowly specimens of human kind. I’m not proud. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that my father made fun of you at the funeral home. He, yet again, told the story of how he so proudly laughed at you when one time you came home and excitedly told him about having found a volunteer job. He was so pompous in his retelling of his reply: “No wife of mine is going to work for free!” Hahaha… what a funny guy! I’m sorry that I didn’t confront him right there. I hope he knows that he’s the one who came across as stupid in his retelling of that story. Not you.

I’m sorry that I was not more compassionate when you lost your mother just a few short months before I lost mine. I wasn’t there for you the way I should have been. Just because we were never close and your relationship with her had always been turbulent does not mean that I shouldn’t have held you close and let you cry. You lost your mommy and the hopes of ever having an ideal mother/daughter relationship. I had no idea. I wish I’d known. I wish I’d taken the time to ask.

I’m sorry for the way I treated you in the end. The years before you died, you acted so strangely. I had no idea what was wrong with you. I couldn’t understand why you kept buying Hunter broken toys. I didn’t get it when you would haul all sorts of things into my house, even after we asked you not to. Most importantly, I’m sorry that I became so hurt and angry when you forgot really important things. I never showed you how upset I was but one time I even told my therapist that I didn’t want to have you in my life anymore. You had forgotten a really huge thing and I felt so invalidated and alone. If you didn’t remember then who would? I began to lose my grip on reality. It was terrifying. Now I get it. You had seven tumors on your brain. It’s amazing that you could remember to tie your shoes or how to put on your pants. But I didn’t know at the time and I’m sorry for the resentment I had towards you.

I’m sorry that your ashes are buried in my father’s backyard. I’m sorry that he chose to not include me, your sisters, your family, your friends in the burial. I’m sorry that no one has ever been invited to see what he did with your ashes. One day, I was in Gallatin after Granny Simpson died and I snuck into the back yard to see where you had been buried. I assume I saw it. I wish I had your ashes. I can’t even bear to think about what is going to happen to them now that he’s selling the house and going to live with HER. If I had the guts, I would call him and ask him for them. But I’m too scared. That’s the one thing I’m too scared of.

I’m not living in fear anymore, though. I’m doing this for both of us. So, if you are up there looking down, then live through me. This is our last chance to change the world together. I hope you enjoy every moment of it.

Love, Mandy

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

Wow Mandy. Your writing is amazing. I ran across this on Hot Mamas Club and we share a common thread. From what I have read; your mother died shortly after your daughter was born,you were not close with her and you resent your father for many things he did. Wow... let me catch my breath. I have a 3 year old daughter and 5 year old son(of which has some issues). You can read more in my blog