My Mother’s Mother

*Names have been changed for anonymity*

My mother (Mae) was abandoned by her mother (Dee) as a baby. Her and her 3 siblings, merely babies and toddlers. Dee’s new husband didn’t want the kids that came with the package; So Dee left them with her parents to raise.  Mae didn’t have a good life with her grandparents, it was quite the opposite. She was unwanted by her own mother, abused, and subjected to domestic violence in the home she was placed in with her own grandparents. Her own grandfather sexually abused her for the entirety of her life there, she even admitted to getting pregnant with me at 17, so she could move out and escape that house. Oddly enough, she still continued to visit them and even take me there as a child. It was so weird to picture my “pap” that used to give me quarters to go to the corner store to buy penny candy, as a child abuser.

Unfortunately for Mae, she didn’t break the cycle. She only continued it. Due to her poor choices, she ultimately subjected us children to massive amounts of dysfunction, mental and physical abuse, as well as sexual abuse by family and friends. I’m sure her intentions were to be different, but she was too far gone. She struggled with mental issues for as long as I can remember, including severe depression and bi-polar. I remember long periods of depression where she would do nothing but sleep on the couch because that was her only escape from her reality. There were also periods of alcohol and drug abuse. She often wished herself dead, she also wished that she had aborted us. To top it off, Mae stayed with a man who treated her like a punching bag for 17 years.

I always thought her story was so sad. Although I had a tumultuous life, at least I had my Mom there. She wasn’t the best Mom by any means, and our life was very crazy, but she was mine. I was accustomed to the dysfunction. I eventually broke the cycle. I didn’t just break it, I destroyed it. I eventually destroyed those bonds. After many mistakes and some time, I did it.

However, I feel terrible that my son had to experience my growing and learning period. Having him at 19, he was exposed to my earlier dysfunctional life with my family. He knew my Mom and some of my relatives. I’m not saying that they were all terrible, all of the time, but it certainly isn’t the life or individuals I would have chosen to be around. As a child, I often felt shame about my life and the people who I am related to. I never felt like I fit in. I always felt like an outsider. My children will not be subjected to these people; I have severed the cord. Later in life, they can seek them out if they choose, but I don’t want them in my life. Sadly, I understand the reason for my mother’s dysfunction. However, I can’t personally allow my life to be directly influenced by her any longer.

When I think of my Mom being abandoned by her own mother, it makes me feel like I’m really no better than Dee. I essentially abandoned my daughter by placing her for adoption. In my heart, I don’t want to see it that way, but my mind tells me otherwise. Like my grandmother and my mother, I went on to have 3 children. My grandmother didn’t keep any of her children, my mother kept hers but struggled greatly with being a good mother; And lastly, I went on to have my first child at 19, then placing my second for adoption at 23 because I was heading down the same hopeless, dysfunctional path as my mother. My third child will hopefully grow up to be a very healthy human, she seems good so far…

It’s hard living without your Mom… I feel it daily. I know that the absence of the family I grew up with is the best for my personal journey, but it still hurts. I want those random phone calls just to chat, I desire that motherly support and love. I often see other people with their mothers and I sometimes feel a tinge of jealousy and envy, but overall extreme sadness. However, if I’m being real with myself, I never really had the mother-daughter bond that I admire and desire. It’s always been muddied with ugliness and dysfunction. But again, I understand. My mother wasn’t strong enough to make things different; She is more comfortable in her misery. I guess I can’t blame her, life is very hard, especially when you are raised without true love and kindness. Life kinda sucks when you feel unwanted and unloved.

I will always love my mother, she carried me in her womb, she gave me life, I am part of her. Nothing or no one will ever replace that. She will always be a part of my life, because she lives in my heart, my mind and my blood. We may not be physically connected any longer, but she will always live in me, and I in her. I will always cherish the handful of truly good memories that I have. I will always appreciate those moments where her true self was able to come out of the muck and shine through. I know deep down that my mother’s heart is beautiful, it is just very tainted and broken. She is a beautiful, creative and talented woman who just didn’t get the proper nurturing and love. I only wish she would see that and try to help herself.

My first birthday.
My first birthday

I forgive you, Mom. I forgive you for the life you put us through. I understand that you were broken, possibly beyond repair. I want so badly to have a relationship with you, but I know it won’t be any different this time than it was in the past. I don’t want the chaos and uncertainty. I don’t want the dysfunction in my life any longer, I also don’t want it in my children’s lives. I have to deal with my own due to what I was subjected to in my own childhood. I know all of these things to be true, yet I still long for you. I long for that relationship, the woman I can call when no one else will understand me. The woman I can call when I need to tell her exciting news about something awesome that’s happened in my life. I still look at your photographs, your smile, and I see your pain. I wish it were different. I wish there were a way for us to really move forward and have a strong and loving bond. I just don’t ever see it happening because I refuse to accept your unwillingness to change and improve yourself as a human. But, I just want you to know that I do still love you. I only wish it could be different.