Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I wanted to take a second to speak about my own mother.
The story of my mom is really a story about mental illness.
I have two sets of memories when it comes to my mom.
One memory is of still images devoid of color and motion. …I had a mom that threw me birthday parties, made dinner, and watched my games. She had a good job as a food service director at a nursing home.
The other memories came post – divorce. When my mother became trapped by bipolar disorders and bouts of paranoia and anxiety.
I guess it all started much earlier. When My Grandfather died.
I spoke about my fond memories of him but what I never remembered was there was many times where I was not allowed to go with him. If he were to pull up to the house wearing his ten gallon cowboy hat my grandmother refused to let me leave. This was a sign that he was in a “manic” stage because he too suffered from Bi-polar disorder.
After my parents split when I was in 8th grade my mother’s behavior started to become very erratic.
She would disappear for hours, forget to pick me up or be there to let me in the house, she was starting to bounce from menial job to menial job. She even worked besides me at a nursing home and later in restaurant kitchens. I never stopped to wonder why. All I know is that I was angry with her all time and that didn’t help matters much.
She became detached from reality and after a long string of back injuries was disabled in 2009.
Things only got worse from there. Now with no job all she had were her thoughts…thoughts she couldn’t control. She became very paranoid, convinced that microphones were listening in her conversations, that she was being followed.
I’m writing about this because for the longest time as a teenager and early adult I was very angry with my mother. Why did she make such terrible decisions? Why couldn’t she do what she needed to do.
It wasn’t until I grew up that I understood …she wasn’t lazy. She wasn’t a bad parent. She was just lost in her own mind. She might not be the mother I grew up with. But I am still the son that she raised. This year I promised myself that I would try to be there for her.
It breaks my heart to think that she will be spending Mother’s Day in the hospital.
I might not have been happy with her at times. But I was never embarrassed of her. She did the best that she could.