The Whole Truth

The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
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I was called conscientious today. My mother’s boyfriend, Tom, out of the blue said I was more conscientious than his own children. That is no surprise, but it made me feel weak.

Tom is 70 years old. My mother is 57. Last year, Tom had the most horrendous heart surgery. He had a 20 inch vein taken from his leg and put into his heart. Plus, a pig heart valve now makes his blood pump, keeping him alive.

My mother has Hepatitis C. I haven’t told my father. My dad contracted Hep C in 1968 from a blood transfusion, but he didn’t find out until 1998. Dad fought it. And for the most part, he won. He did all those trial medications. It made him deathly sick. His ankles swelled, he became angry, and he was put on anti-depressants. He did the alternative mushroom and wheat grass as well. My dad is a champion. Tom is not – at least he isn’t in my mind. And apparently he is not a champion in the minds of his six children.

My husband doesn’t understand. He came from the perfect dysfunctional family. I came from the hood. I’m one of a few who got out. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are champions too. It’s just they didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want to stay. I wanted a different life and I feel guilty for it every day.

My daughter makes me feel guilty too. She hated having a single mom. It sucked. But in reality, I fought my hardest and I had my achievements. I owned a business, I was well liked, and well respected, but I never got over the fact that I bailed on my family and friends. However, I never bailed on my mother.

When mom disappeared on the streets of Seattle, I followed her every move. In and out of jail she went. I talked to every police officer that arrested her and the social workers who oversaw her case. When she finally surfaced at Harborview Medical Center, my dad and I were there within 24 hours to aid in her escape. The social worker said mom didn’t want to go with us. They tried to detour us, but we knew that she was in a perpetual Hell. She was stuck in the system and she was costing the government a shit ton of money. She had family for God sake and we were going to take care of her no matter how hard she fought us.

She was with me for less than 30 days before she disappeared again. My mother causes me the same amount of stress that I cause my daughter, maybe. I don’t really see it that way, but I think Cherry does. Cherry is the apple of my eye. She can do no wrong. Never. She is my baby. I would die for her.

My boyfriend committed suicide in 2001. His mother would do anything to trade spots with him. Mothers are that way. But not my mother, she is not capable. Sometimes I think when we are so deeply involved in the sad truth of life, we don’t have the where with all – the strength – to step up to the challenge and rescue those in need.

I want more than anything in this world to be a shaker. I can make a difference, but I don’t know how. I am limited. I don’t have discretionary income or family money. I don’t have the support. I just have a husband who burdens me every day with the harsh reality that we barely have enough money to live on and support his own family (an ex who is ‘entitled’ and children who I have no connection with). I no longer have a family of my own (besides my burden of a mother who lives in an oblivion).  

I am not in charge of my own life. I am restricted by this world. I cannot be who I know I am inside. But I will continue to try because I am not a failure. I cannot succumb to the same demise. I cannot crawl inside myself like the rest of the universe. I was put on this planet to make a difference and I will die trying.

I will die trying.


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