Hindsight Story 1
YOU’RE A FUCKING SLUT WHO’S LIED TO ME MY WHOLE LIFE!
These were the last words I ever heard from my amazing beloved 15 year old firstborn and adored daughter before parental alienation syndrome took completely over my life.
It was about 8 days after I buried my father, I’d been lied to non-stop by my estranged mother and sister the entire time while I had attempted to juggle the emotional, mental, and physical shock of this sudden and totally unexpected grave loss. The shock had manifested with mental confusion, emotional agony and had been accompanied by the severe immediate onset of various physical effects.
The nausea had hit first and had not ceased since that initial phone call from my sister who in a very purposeful soft and tender voice informed me my dad had dropped dead 5 hours earlier in Los Angeles, California and continued that gentle hushed dripping compassion tone while informing me of various probate laws she had apparently researched in the 5 hours waiting to inform me my dad had dropped dead.
Quite literally unable to eat, I had been existing on ginger ale and an occasional cracker since that day. Interestingly enough, from the day before his funeral, I had also had sudden back pain so severe, I could not stand up straight and had walked hunched almost in half for 3 days. The hotel shared a parking lot with an medi-center, I had hobbled to the morning of the funeral in desperation for help so I could make it to my dad’s funeral that day. I did make it through the funeral with the assistance of the pain pills the medi-center had prescribed.
At the time, this back pain was confounding. I had never in my life experienced back pain or had back issues. In hindsight, I find it fascinating that those days after arriving in Ohio where we buried my dad, while I was planning the funeral, my children had been spending time with my estranged mother, sister, and ex (my children’s father). I had been excessively grateful to these people for spending this time with my children while I suffered through the physical hell which had settled in as well as the emotional agony of planning my dad’s funeral. The irony is that my back pain set precisely simultaneous to these “helpful” people stabbing me in the back to my children with outrageous lies about me, their mother, as I thanked them graciously every day for helping me by spending quality time with my children.
I had watched Lexi grow more hostile and sarcastic to me each day we were in Ohio and it was hurtful as she had never in her life treated me with such bitter smoldering and random disdain ever in her 15 years. I did not respond in kind to this sudden hatefulness or even acknowledge it, I simply assumed my daughter was rightfully angry at the sudden loss of her grandpa. I had no one to offer me personal support, except my sister’s constant exaggerated over-the-top gentle “kindness” which was actually very thinly veiled manipulation that I grant her sole-executor of our dad’s estate.
I had no one. I was surrounded by only the very people who had abandoned me 13 years earlier and my ex who had mentally abused me and our children and then stole our family home to punish me for not tolerating his cruelty to our children, specifically our youngest Savannah but Lexi hadn’t been totally excluded in that cruelty either.
These three snakes, plus my children, were who surrounded me as I hunch-backed my way through burying my dad. So when Lexi suddenly started treating me with nothing but sneering hostile sarcasm, I did not respond. I assumed she needed a safe place to vent her pain and anger over losing her grandpa and I was more than willing to be her target as long as she needed to be angry.
However, the night she screamed these words, YOU’RE A FUCKING SLUT WHO’S LIED TO ME MY WHOLE LIFE!, I was immediately more confused and discombobulated, but my instincts told me that the suddenly “so very helpful three” had created something pretty nasty in my devastated and vulnerable 15 year-old daughter while I had entrusted them to provide supporting love and compassion to my children while I planned their grandpa’s funeral. None of the “helpful three” had ever provided love, support, or compassion to me, but I had not ever expected them to be willing to take advantage of my hurting and heartbroken children.
So, I learned the hard way how deep their hatred for me really ran. They actually all three hated me enough to literally lie and manipulate my children during this moist vulnerable and painful life crisis. I’ll never forgive myself for being so naive as to not assume they’d grab this opportunity to drench my children in poison. I really should have known better. They’d never shown any level of genuine conscience or authentic sincerity in my entire life. In fact, as far as I had involvement with these “helpful three”, they’d acted as nothing better than greedy, punishing, hateful sociopathic insidiously evil snakes slithering around the wake of our devastation with greedy opportunistic delight.
I own that stupidity. I take responsibility for it completely. None of these three people had ever shown me they were anything but the snakes they were. I don’t know why I assumed grabbing this rare and wonderful time of vulnerability to poison my children with their hate would ever be off-limits. Bit, I did. I suppose I looked at my amazing two daughters, so loving, so wonderful, so hurt by this loss, and never fathomed anyone could hate me enough to want to hurt them. That was just unfathomable.
Oh my, this was intended to be a post about my oldest being a confessed liar and even still, I can’t help but wander off to place the blame where it truly lies. Even as my now adult daughter continues her lies and embraces treating me even worse than the “helpful three” ever did, I can’t bring myself to hold her responsible for this.
Is that more proof of my stupidity? My desperate need to live in denial of sociopaths (the very kind of denial that made this possible at all)? Or is it the depth of a mother’s love and willingness to love and try to protect her children at any personal cost?
I don’t know. And, I know what it is doesn’t matter any more.
A few months ago in a very brief moment of acknowledging I exist, Lexi told me she had been lying to me for years prior to my dad’s death. I guess she grasped this moment of my desperation to have any communication at all with my child, to blow my wounds up and take a nice directed stab deeper into them, claiming our entire relationship (the one I thought we had) had all been nothing but a lie….for years.
When she told me this, it had knocked the wind out of me. I had no idea how to even reply to such a deep and permanent stab. I immediately began sobbing and desperately trying not to let her hear my sobs and make her angry enough to end this communication ,albeit cruel stabs, it was still precious moments of hearing my child’s voice and her acknowledging I exist at all.
Beggars most definitely can’t be choosers, right?
And at this point, the “helpful three” had stolen my family, stolen my future, and stolen my childhood, but I held tightly to the 15 years I’d struggled through raising my children alone. The memory of those precious 15 years of the heart-to-heart mother daughter chats I’d always dreamed of having as a child. The 15 years of wild giggles and belly laughs I’d prayed for sharing with my mother as a child. The studying together and making it fun I’d longed to have as a child. The environment of unconditional love and trust I’d always wished for as a child. The heart-filled memories of desperately learning with my beloved two girls how to mother my children in all the ways I hadn’t ever known, but had dreamed of as a child. In the 6 years since they were poisoned against me, I had held onto this. Sure of only one last thing, these could never be taken from me. They could steal my past, destroy my future, but I would always have those 15 years of truth and happiness (with struggle too, of course) that no one could never ever take from my children and me.
Lo and behold, in one statement, Lexi had taken even this.
So, stifling my sobs for a moment of silence after her claim that our entire relationship had been a lie, I finally very quietly (desperate she not hear my stifled sobbing, creaky begging voice and scream at or hang up on me) pleaded with her, Okay Lexi, may I please ask you something though? Without you getting mad?
Was anything ever true between us? Did I do anything right? Ever? Were you ever actually as happy and full of love for me as you pretended? Was anything ever actually true or good, Lexi?
Of course it was, Momma! I have a million wonderful memories with you that I cherish!
(Still holding back my sobs) Oh, thank God it wasn’t all a lie then… Okay, may I ask you something else without making you mad?
When did it all become a lie? Was our relationship when we lived in our house on Roosevelt which you once claimed was the happiest time of your life and most treasure memories, was that real?
Here, I was desperate to sort through my memories of our life together and needed to know what I could still believe was real because those memories were all I’d held onto for the six years my children had pretended I didn’t exist and made outrageous claims of enduring lifetimes of abuse. All that had kept me going that someday my children would remember the truth, stop the cruelty, and let me back in their lives…
Oh, I dunno Momma… I guess when I was really little? I wasn’t lying when I was little and didn’t know any better…
Okay Lexi. Well, thank you for being honest and not getting mad at me for asking. I’m sorry you felt you had to lie to me most of your life. I’m sorry we didn’t actually have the relationship I thought we had. I’m sorry my best efforts to give you everything I didn’t have and never knew fell so drastically short. I truly never knew. I truly believed we had a wonderful open and honest, loving relationship. I don’t know why you felt the need to start lying to me. That’s exactly the opposite of what I’d tried to create and what I thought I’d done well. I wish I’d known how to do it right. I wish I’d known you felt this way. I’d have done anything in my power to fix it, but I could never fix something I wasn’t even aware of. I’m sorry. I guess I should have just known. I didn’t though. I really didn’t know, Lexi. I really thought we were happy, we were close, and we were honest. I was literally clueless and I’m so sad because if only I’d known… I would have done anything. Anything. This was my only goal in life from the day I knew you were growing in my body. I would have done anything. Anything for you.
At this point, I was openly sobbing and Lexi , clearly bored and possibly frustrated, had to go.
After we hung up, devastated and in utter shock and confusion, my whole body shaking, I, a grown woman who had endured gang rapes, many punches to the face, being strangled until I passed out, being slapped, having my face shoved into broken glass, being betrayed, a massive stroke, having my home stolen, being totally abandoned, and overcome the lifelong confusing hatred of my own mother…. I just sobbed and wailed like an infant, staring at my phone in disbelief.
I suppose it’s better to know the truth, right? As deeply as it stabs, as much as it doesn’t make any more sense than all the lies, as much as it goes against my every memory of reality, as much as it feels like it’s going to kill me with the worst pain I’ve ever known, it’s better to know the truth, I suppose….
In just one sentence, my beloved child, had literally severed my last lifeline. Now, even my most treasured memories were poisoned and destroyed, labeled as nothing but more lies and betrayals, from the one of two people in the world I loved and trusted most; I’d have done (and did do) anything for.
The last thread of hope ripped away so nonchalantly, with as much care and concern and deliberation as a snake devouring its unknowing prey.
This is my beloved child. This is my own heart outside my body. This is the person I would take a bullet for, would give my dreams up for, would willingly give my last crumb, my last cent, my life, my love, my world. This is she.
She also needed to take my last hope, my last memory of truth and happiness. She’d had to have that too. Nothing I’d ever had to give was good enough for her anyway. Nothing I’d ever striven to give her even had come close to being good enough. I would do anything for this child of mine. Anything.
Why did this hurt and shock me so much? This was, quite literally, exactly the only “love” I’d ever been shown in my entire life except by my dead dad. It’s exactly the way I’d always been “loved”.
So, I gave it to her. And said, thank you.
There it was.
gross and grotesque
like intestines spilled out for display
at a homicide scene…
and yet beautiful enough to steal the breath from
There it was
the heart that went missing
5 agonizingly long years ago.
A Starbucks table full of older children…
I wondered why the others were turning to stare
when I saw it.
The smoke and ashes of a soul’s empire
lovingly built, brick by brick
sitting nonchalantly at a table
surrounded by friends,
who turned to stare
at the lonely old has-been crazy woman
in her car,
waiting at the drive-thru window
My very own heart
pretending it didn’t see me
purposely looking straight ahead
as its friends turned to stare…
I recognized it though.
After all, it’s my heart….
It choked my throat…
floods of hugs and kisses
long talks at the dinner table
giggles making up silly stories
and how the number 3 makes a heart
…for a reason…
There it sat,
surrounded by friends,
pretending it didn’t see me….
my very own heart…
splayed out on that table
I never existed
Maybe I never did?
Does one really exist without a heart?
So I forced a laugh, alone in my car…
trying to turn the choke of memories into laughs
hoping my empty, gaping chest
wouldn’t show itself.
I no longer
I do not fear death. I no longer fear I am unlovable or unworthy. I have those irrefutable answers at last. I no longer fear the persecution of lies, ignorance, or huge misunderstandings. That’s all been decided, judged, and prosecuted already.
I fear failure. I fear I’ve not thought of something critical and I’ll cause more unnecessary and undue suffering on the people left in this world whom I’d rather die than ever hurt. Literally.
I no longer fear anger. I don’t have this chronic deep anxiety that deep down I’m going to be like my mother – ruling with rage, cutting sarcasm, and torrential tirades. I still feel immediate terror when I sense anger anywhere about my vicinity, but with all my habitual begging and pleading for forgiveness of crimes I didn’t commit and/or aren’t even crimes at all, combined with faults I am most certainly guilty of, I feel angry.
I think about people who have been wrongly convicted of violent crimes, like rape or murder, who spend years in prison – sometimes lifetimes even – and I imagine how they must feel sitting in their prison cell for all those years, knowing they aren’t guilty…knowing they’re not perfect either, but that they did not commit these heinous crimes against humanity, but there they sit. There they sit among hundreds of guilty voices who also cry out, “…but I’m not guilty!”, knowing their sincere pleas of innocence are useless, tiny ridiculous cries, begging for justice, screaming for truth, but drowning in a sea of guilt that continuously whispers, why bother crying out?
I’ve read over the years of cases where DNA evidence exonerates some poor innocent soul who’s served the time already; who wears that noisy scarlet G for guilty, in spite of their innocence. How angry they must feel! How invisible (other than for persecution purposes, of course), how hopeless, how senseless, and unjust. I once believed that anger was a useless waste of dangerous energy which serves no efficient purpose except transmitting unnecessary negativity out into the world. Yet, I can imagine these people feel quite righteously angry indeed! Yet, in great irony, if they expose their anger or noisily express the travesty of their wrongful conviction, most would just shake their heads and say, see? Look what an angry person he is! Look how “he doth protest too much“, only adding fuel to their guilty judgment with every righteous expression of anger, outrage, and shocking disbelief.
Trapped in their cell, wearing the blaring Scarlet “G”, do they even bother getting angry when it serves no purpose except to shine even more certainty on their misjudged guilt? Can you even imagine for a moment how horrifying that experience must be?
I’ve actually never allowed myself to really feel anger and be okay with that. I have to say though, uselessly senseless as it may be, I am angry. I am furiously angry. I feel angry that my voice is small and unsure, unsteady and without passion anymore. I feel angry that even when I get the words out, now they sound hysterical and imbalanced… rendering them uncountable. I feel angry that I tried so hard, suffered through so much, sacrificed without thought, and pushed myself past every hurdle life and narcissists threw at me.. just to end up defeated and hated in the end regardless.
A life full of consistent efforts to matter, and consistent efforts to help others and to use my struggles for good. A life of buying into the whole, everything happens for a reason, just use it all for good in the world and good will come around to you… No. No that is not true. I’ve lived a life believing in some non-existent karmic balance in the world, some ignorant notion that if I just keep doing the right thing no matter how hard that is sometimes, then everything will be ok; believing that deep in my heart, while drowning in a sea of evidence and experience which keeps slapping my face insisting otherwise.
Apparently, I’m a special kind of stubborn-stupid.
It’s wasted energy, I understand. It serves no purpose except to add fuel to the charges, but fuck that! I am angry. I am PISSED OFF. And I’m letting myself feel that for once in my fucking life.
I feel frustrated and angry that as invisible and non existent as I am and as senseless and futile as my words, life experiences, and feelings are, that I still exist. I still fucking exist!
I hate my body for functioning. I resent myself when I feel hunger. Why should I have to feel hunger? Why should I have to go grocery shopping or buy groceries? I don’t want to and I don’t even exist on any plane that matters….
I used to love to cook! Even after they first left, I confess, sometimes I’d still cook big dinners and send my kids pictures hoping to spark a memory of my cooking they loved, or maybe fondly recall the many dinners we had where we laughed. It seemed a safe topic to address when all topics and all my words are twisted into daggers and furiously flipped, taken out of context, and unleashed upon me backwards like boomerangs. My feather boomerangs I lovingly toss out there which return as daggers to stab and criticize.
Now, I feel pissed off when I’m hungry and when I can’t push past it anymore, I drag myself to the kitchen and eat a spoonful of peanut butter or anything readily handy that will shut up my hunger pains when they’re driving me crazy.
Maybe those food pictures were manipulative? Maybe I’m selfish to want them to remember being happy with me, loving me, being a family with me…? They’re admittedly gloriously happy, why would I want them to remember those things when they’ll either be twisted to hurt me or twisted inside them as painful reminders of the depth of lies they’ve told and the depth of senseless destruction they wreaked?
I once got an irrationally inordinate pleasure out of- of all things! – lip balm! I used to get so excited over a new chap stick or lip gloss… and I adored the feeling of applying lip balm on my chapped lips, that moment of quenching that annoying thirst of my lips and how soothing it felt.
Now, I deeply resent my lips when they’re dry. I don’t feel pleasure from buying a new chapstick and I feel just annoyed when my lips dare to be so dry. I get no pleasure whatsoever from the soothing sensation of quenching that. Why do I even have lips anyway? And how dare they have needs!
I’m angry that I’ve no one who will stand for me even up when I’m gone. I fear that all my abusers and those who’ve used, deceived, and demolished me for their own purpose and angrily threw me away only when I finally stood up for myself against their abuse, that every one of those people will just say “see? See what she did now? See how far she’ll go to manipulate? I told you so.”
As a child, I wished for death almost as much as I craved and begged for love. And I would play the scenario in my head, mother will be sad that I’m gone. She will see how much I loved her after I’m not around anymore. She might even miss me and realize that she did love me a little… I see now that I’m an adult, how childish and selfish those thoughts were. I loved my mother in spite of everything. Why would I have wanted her to suffer missing me? Suffer regrets she could never rectify? I didn’t yet know about NPD and that pathological narcissists are incapable of feeling regret, remorse, or love.
Regardless, as angry as I am, I still don’t wish any pain on anyone… not even my abusers or persecutors. I’ve never intentionally wished any of them pain and I still don’t. I don’t believe that their experiencing pain like they’ve inflicted on me would vindicate or bring me any satisfaction.
I have far more anger at those who stood by watching it happen, knowing it was horribly wrong, and did nothing…said nothing… And will most likely even express sympathy (real or fake) with my murderers after I’m gone.
And my children… my children who are merely accessories and pawns in a bigger narcissist’s game than they could ever comprehend. And the more they scream that they’re NOT and throw cruelty at me like they have zero heart and less than zero compassion for anyone weak and unlucky enough to have been abused, the more I accept that what I know is true, even if I’m surrounded by naysayers. Truth is still truth whether or not anyone believes, respects it, or remembers it.
What’s kept me from ending my suffering these past 5 years was the very fear that my children MIGHT remember they loved me too late… that they might remember the truths and sort out the lies, that they might suffer even a moment’s doubt about their choices and their actions. I do not have any desire to “show them” what pain feels like nor any wish for them to EVER know even a fraction of a second of the level of pain they and my abusers have created inside me.
While I still ignorantly tried to believe that truth and goodness will prevail in the end, I could not end my own pain knowing that might someday cause them pain even if they can’t or won’t realize that today…
Most of all though, I’m angry that after everything, no one will stand up to say, “another fatality of narcissistic abuse” another senseless victim for parental alienation “. No one will call it murder by the fiercest and most damaging of bullying… adult bullying via children.
No one will scream, SHE DID NOT COMMIT SUICIDE! SHE WAS DESTROYED BY PARENTAL ALIENATION!
I’m confined to the prison my abusers specifically created for me.. a hell I can’t escape no matter what I do… for my heart will still love and long to be loved by my children.. until my last breath. They created my prison, and like a person on death row for a crime they didn’t commit.. my screams of innocence and demands for justice are just more proof I deserve this prison sentence.
Yes, I am pissed off.
And if my existence and all my lifetime of strenuous efforts to matter, to love like I wished for love, to believe in the goodness of people even when monsters were whacking at my head, to help others like I wished someone had helped me, to hold to faith when it was smaller than a mustard seed.. and hang on hope even when it was the prickly noose around my neck..
If none of that mattered and none of it made any difference in this world, then maybe I do deserve this prison of nonexistence, but if so, then I also deserve the death penalty… a death free from the burden and stigma of suicide, free from the heavy conscience of that tiny remote possibility that my death might hurt someone I love – someone I love who (unwittingly or otherwise) also tightened the noose others placed around my neck.
If I give in to these impossible persecutions, the years of agony, the desperate climb up and past so much abuse just to be kicked back down again… if what they say I am, I really am… then I also deserve to be free from further blame at accepting their truth even when it wasn’t mine to accept or bear.
I fear that my entire life was in vain and now, without a voice or a leg of worth or value to stand on… as a fragile shell of my former spirited, hopeful self…that my death will also be in vain.
These are the only fears I have left.
Last night, I made macaroni and cheese. I’m not telling you this because anyone on earth cares what I had for dinner. I’m writing of macaroni and cheese because it should contain a warning. That’s right. Macaroni and cheese provokes some serious emotional baggage, I’m telling you. That deliciously rich silvery packet full of golden cheese viciously smited me; locked me smack in the old memory bank I strive daily to keep myself locked out of.
I live alone now and I have little interest in grocery shopping these days. Cooking (the way I love to cook) for one just seems superfluous, so I scoured through my pantry for something on hand that would be quick and filling with minimal cleanup required. Lo and behold: a lonesome rectangular box of mac n cheese! I love mac n cheese and I’ve not had any in years. Literally, years. So….. ummm…. Yay!
Clueless as to what this sneaky little pre-packaged solitary supper in a box was capable of, I put the water on to boil. Innocently, I tore open the box still filled with eager delight that I had the little forgotten treasure on hand. I struggle with opening boxes, but that’s another story and nothing could burst my mac n cheese bubble of gratitude I was floating in at this moment. I managed to open the box and then – only then – did it hit me.
…a f**king tsunami of long held back memories flooded my eyes instantaneously with tears when I caught that first glimpse of the shiny silver packet of cheese inside peeking out at me among the flecks of pasta shells trying to bury it as though to protect me from the acute pain this cheesy treasure would bring. I’m immediately blurry eyed from bushels of salt stinging my eyeballs and instant asphalt-hot tears streaming like two waterfalls down my face. My hands shaking, I carefully pulled out the silver demon of painful nostalgia, regret, and furious anger all tossed together in this silly little cheesy packet. At this point, I’m still fairly confused about the spontaneous cry baby tsunami hitting me. Fuck, I just wanted to whip up some mac n cheese, for the love of God!
But my brain…or was it my heart? My soul?? my spirit???!? I can’t even know, I just know I’m overwhelmed so much that I couldn’t even catch hold of one individual thought/memory/feeling long enough to fathom what shard of my brokenness was cutting the deepest. They all started to cut and dig and the salt in my tears seemed to be scattered instantly inside a billion winds of unidentified mac n cheese puncture wounds.
It was all too brief visits to Daddy’s safe haven where I was so very little and so very safe and happy, gloriously excited for daddy to set that plate down in front of me. I’m only 4 and mac n cheese is my favorite and Daddy actually made it! I never get this at “home”… I’m sitting right next to him on the nubby red loveseat with tv trays in front of us that I can barely reach from sitting, but I wanna be like Daddy and we are watching re-runs of Hogan’s Heroes while we eat. And it’s my favorite because Daddy laughs at the tv so much that I laugh too, even though I don’t even understand what’s funny. I just know I love that sound and I want to hide right there inside those notes of laughter forever. this is the only address for joy and laughter i know. It’s the only residence of the safety to feel at all, much less to allow my very own laughter to bubble up and explode from my belly in uncontrollable giggles. It’s safe to be happy here. It’s safe to be silly. Laughter echoes on these walls long after the literal sound has stopped. Macaroni and cheese is visits to Daddy’s. It’s safety. It’s laughter. It is the home of momentary security and still being young enough that all there was was then, was right NOW. So in those moments, although just flashes, thoughts of sadness and fear and the knowledge that this was only a flash in time before I’d have to return to the real world could not co-exist. When you’re that little, now is all there can be and now is strong enough that all the fears and hurts and worries your 3 year old self normally carry are literally flushed away…in that moment. That moment is all there was…while a 3 year old is in it. And sometimes there was Mac n cheese in it too.
It was a brief flash of college years and making it for my entire meal just because I could… And the childhood memories of comfort it brought back even then while far away from home’and having no friends and no daddy anywhere near. Reminiscing on the flashes of Mac n cheese laughter that thankfully spotted the otherwise chronic pain and confusion of my childhood as spurts of temporary relief from the excruciating loneliness of my reality back then. Reminiscing about those little breaks from the tortures of the cruel prison of childhood and still young enough to almost believe your daddy will live forever, just because he just must.
Mac n cheese was raising two beautiful little toddlers all alone with a physical disability in subsidized housing. It was stretching the pennies of a fixed income to afford to try to feed them the stuff they liked. It was the excitement I felt on the rare days when I splurged to afford the “good brand” for $2.69 rather than the powdery generic .34 cents kind I usually had to buy while their perfectly physically-abled, healthy father made $800k+ a year, lived alone in a gigantic house, drove fancy new cars, enjoying the fortune of freedom and good jobs, and the fun party life of a healthy single man who took his kids for weekends and vacations whenever it suited his fancy or his work and personal schedule.
Mac and cheese is the pang in your gut at the grocery store of the life a traumatic brain injury resorts you to when you’re affected at 26 years old. It’s not having the strength, coordination, or balance to play normally with your little children who so desperately want you to play with them, or bathe them without help from your dad, or run with them on the playground, or brush the tangles out of their hair using both hands to make it easier for their tender scalps.
Mac and cheese is the cheap stuff you feel guilty for serving your children when you know their perfect little grins and glorious giggles, hugs and tiny “I love you Momma’s” so deserve the rich, creamy, delicious kind. The guilt of not having the physical strength to raise them the way you’d always dreamed and work a regular full time job. its not having the strength to pick them up when they reach their tiny arms out and say “hold me momma!”. It’s having the strength to pick them up on good days and fearing you’ll lose your balance and fall with them in your arms, and maybe scar their sense of security or faith in you as a momma, thus creating trust issues you swore your children would never have to battle It’s your words slurring with fatigue on the second bedtime reading of Winnie the Pooh because your brain is unable to formulate words well after a long day… and you can’t hold them both at the same time like they deserve and hold a book too, but they so deserve to hear it a second time.. And they also deserve to be held tightly with two strong arms until they drift of to sleep feeling adored, loved, secure, and safe, the way you never did as a child … Except during the rare Mac n cheese visits at your daddy’s house.
This Mac n cheese was the childhood my children deserved rather than the one I was able to give them.. The one I’d always dreamed of giving them when i had played with dolls as a child and fantasized about what kind of momma I could be someday, promising myself I would you’d be everything my mother never was. My children would not know fear or insecurity. They would not know the desperate longing for a momma that played with them every day and read to them and laughed with them and chased away their bad dreams and allowed them to know security in their environment and security of faith and love in and outside of themselves.
This Mac n cheese was the regret of feeding my children cheap shit so that I’d never have to depend on their dad for money to survive. Not caring about child support rights or entitlement or all the money in the world if it meant having to raise my daughters watching their dad cheat, lie, and abuse me. It meant going without just to not even risk fighting legally or otherwise with him about custody when I knew I didn’t have the money for the battle because he had all the time, freedom, and money while all I ever wanted to have was my children and the ability to raise them with love and understanding, peace and security…and joy. It was choosing to encourage their relationship with the man who abused me after I left him and he had destroyed my dreams and who didn’t care about much other than sex with “strange”, job power, and making money to buy nice things for himself. It was passing on child support for 15 years no matter my disability or how much money he was free to go out and make because love and peace for my kids’ home life seemed more important than buying the good kind of Mac n cheese for them.
Mac n cheese was the ache of remembering when my children loved me in spite of my disability. The excruciating torment of recalling countless nights of guilt at being poor, being disabled, being single, and being afraid of not ever being even close to everything I had always dreamed of being for them… Of the hurt at wanting to give them so much more but literally not being able to. It was The indescribably deep wound that comes from unexpectedly losing the only parent who had loved and wanted me as a child or as an adult.
Mac n cheese is the endless sting of betrayal that my children turned against me, lied about me, negate me as ever being their mother even, crucifying my every flaw and every life hardship, magnifying every mistake big or small, denying any good I brought to their lives. All on top of the years of guilt at already not being enough, not being worthy, not being anything but a disappointment to every one … To Everyone except my dead daddy who has abandoned me once again and finally for forever.
I will never make or eat macaroni and cheese again. That stuff is just vicious.
Last week was the 3rd anniversary of my daddy’s death. I still struggle so much with the fact that he’s gone. All day, I just cried and begged, “Daddy, take me with you!”.
This made me remember all the times over my lifetime when I felt that way. I pretty much always felt that way and asked every chance I got. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to just be with my dad…
At 3 When my parents separated, I wanted to go with my dad. At this young tender age, most children can’t stand being away from their mothers. When asked, my 5 year old sister instantly jumped up with “I want to go with you, Mommie!”. This is one of my first memories. I vividly remember wanting to follow suit with my sister and latch onto the natural maternal pull at such a needy age. I know my very first thought was that. I remember the instant I thought to repeat my sister’s desire, I looked at my daddy and just the thought of not being with him created an instant pang of sharp pain in my heart and my gut. Maybe it was the wounded, defeated look on his face? Maybe it was the wise intuition even way back then, that I was extremely unwanted by my mother? Or maybe it was simply that only with my dad have I ever felt safe and loved? I don’t know what my 3 year old brain was thinking for sure but I vividly recall the sharp pain in my heart at the thought of not being with my daddy.
Please can I go with you Daddy?
Of course I was forced to live with my mother eventually. And I saw my dad for occasional weekends when mother permitted. My dad took my sister and I on summer vacations to Cherokee Lake, TN with his boat to visit Aunt Maude and Uncle George and fish on the lake.
I loved these vacations! Except my dad would get up at the crack of dawn to go fishing and I’d wake up with him already gone. I didn’t like that! So every night before bed, I’d ask, “Daddy, are you goin fishin early in the mornin?” Usually my dad would say something funny to direct my thoughts and attention somewhere other than asking to go with him (i chattered to my dad incessantly and played with the minnow bait when he fished… I was not the best to take fishin!). I would know he was avoiding my question with jokes because they were going early to catch fish and I impeded that. So it became like a game between my daddy and me. I’d always ask every night and say, “stop teasing me Daddy and please take me with you in the mornin?”
Please can I go with you Daddy?
Usually, desperate to not miss when he left, I’d try with all my might to stay up all night to catch him leaving and naturally, then I’d oversleep and not wake in time to insist I go…they’d sneak off while I was sleeping and when I’d wake up and see him gone, I’d impatiently wait til he got back shortly and let him know how mad at him I was for not waking me to go with! He’d tease me about something and we’d laugh and I wouldn’t be mad anymore. …just grateful he was already back…
As a teenager, living in Hell and dreaming of being loved and safe, I literally lived for my visits with my dad…brief and random as they were under mother’s strict and fierce control… One time I was having a chat with my dad and I desperately told him, ” nothing can ever happen to you Daddy. If it did, there’d never be anyone to love me or kiss and hug me!” My dad of course said this was silly talk that I was loved by many….
I went through a brief period of time during therapy where I acknowledged I was maybe angry at my dad for not saving me from Mommie dearest . That didn’t last long though. I realize from deep within that truly good people with pure hearts have a hard time recognizing evil. I lived with it and still it took years to convince me it was what it really was. I have the heart of my daddy. How could I ever blame him for not seeing evil when he had not an ounce of evil in him ? Of COURSE he couldn’t see it!
So a few months before his death, he was working on his will and called me to discuss it. I remember exactly where I was sitting when he called about this. As soon as the words came out of his mouth I said (as a grown woman now and single mother to two teen girls), “No daddy! You can’t ever go away! Not EVER! I have to go first or you have to take me with you! I just can’t be in this world without you!!!” And I was sobbing. So, my daddy changed the subject. Of course, he could never stand to hear me cry…
Now, he’s gone and just like those crack of dawn fishin trips he snuck without me, he didn’t take me with him! Only he’s still not back when I wake up in the mornin. I can’t stomp my feet and tell him I’m mad he went fishin without me. He can’t tease me and make it impossible to be even playfully mad at him. This time, he’s just gone.
Shortly after his death and after my children turned against me after his funeral, I went to a Christian retreat to deal with this unbearable pain and loss. I don’t know what I think about these things really, I just know lost people in desperate pain will try about anything , so I went.
There, on the last day, I finally shared my grief and they told me the problem was I had “unholy grief” for my dad and my children. And they prayed over me to rid me of this “unholy grief” and the demons they associated with that specific “evil “.
I was mad at this “diagnosis “! WHAT?!?? I tried to accept it though with the hopes that my pain might subside even a little if they were perhaps right.
It didn’t work. I still ask daily, Daddy, please can I go with you?
Is my grief “unholy”? I know many have painfully lost parents way earlier than I and seem to eventually go on about life and living. Why cant I?
(Everyone is looking at the camera. I’m looking at my daddy.)