Monday, October 31, 2022

Im the stranger

 Im 57 years old, and here I sit blogging about my feelings now that my mom has died.  I write about this to somehow free my mind of the thoughts that plague me daily.  The thought that I am still the stranger within my family.  At least that is how it feels to me.  I have felt this way as far back as I can remember having memories.  I would say before turning 2 years old I can remember feeling alone.  Feeling like I had been left at someone elses house, and was waiting to be picked up.  I spent most of my childhood hiding, in the closet, under furniture, and looking back now, I truly was hiding from the sadness of feeling like I was amongst strangers.  Analyzing this now, knowing what I now know, since moms death,  I have confirmed this because nothing earth shattering happened to make me feel differently about my position in this family before mom died.  What I felt as a baby is real,  I am the stranger and I have never really belonged to this family is how it feels to me.  

My parents were known in the community and they cared what their peers thought about them .  I truly believe that was the reason why I have been given half of my parents estate.  The lack of bond between my parents and I, and how I was treated, should have resulted in me being written out of their estate.  I am thankful for being included in this part of their lives, it will make our lives easier, but I often wonder how it would feel to be loved, truly adored and cared about by my own parents.   To look like them, to be like them, to be part of their family, and to be able to say that our children look like dad, grandpa or anyone in thier family would be amazing.  To never feel the pain of being treated differently because I was not born into the family.  

We went to dinner after moms funeral, my entire family and this was discussed, about how my sisters son looks like dad.  And other similarities in the family.  Here I sat with my husband, and 3 grown children, our daughter has a baby girl, our son is expecting a baby in December.  Do they not see or understand that we cannot really participate in this discussion?  Dont they wonder who my kids look like?  Wouldnt that be amazing for them to be even a bit conscious of how left out we all feel when they talk like this and how strange they become if I do mention who looks like whom in my family?  Why are they NOT interested to know who we all look like, and why would they be so selfish to think we only care about who they look like?  I didnt hatch from an egg, I am not some alien that fell from the sky.  I do have birth parents and many sets of grandparents.  This adoption was not my choice, and I did not choose to be excluded or treated like a stranger.  A stranger is someone who is not familiar, an outsider.  Trust me when I tell you that no adoptee ever wants to feel this way.  I just dont know if it is possible to change this within my family, as my efforts and hard work have not proven to be successful in these 57 years.  I have to admit failure and realize I cannot force others to love and accept me as their own.  

Its over...

Its been a lifetime of trying to win her over, a fight for her affection, attention and love.  Since I can remember, I have been holidng her hand, sitting in her lap,  practically begging for love.  I didnt know I was doing it at the time, it wasnt until much later in life, after I had children and they were grown, I realized I was fighting for something I could never attain.  I kept trying, for the majority of my life, I really believed if I was a good girl and keep trying, that I'd somehow be like her real daughter, right up until the moment she died I believed she would give me a sign.   A sign that let me know my efforts, love, affection, loyalty and devotion to her were not in vain.  I never got that sign from mom, and I cannot explain to you how deeply sad I am about this now.  I will never have another chance to make her mine.  

A few years ago I was scanning old photos for my nieces wedding present, you know making a huge photo album of our family photos and not wanting to use originals.  Since mom has died, family wants access to all the thousands of family photos I've scanned.  Digging deep in my cloud I added thousands of photos to Dropbox, one by one.   

One by one,  I noticed something I had never noticed before.  I’m holding moms hand , sometimes with one hand , sometimes with both of my hands, leaning into her body .  Clearly I was an affectionate small child.  The look on my face in between mom and dad in Christmas photos , I look proud .  I even lean into dad , appearing very affectionate, which I’m sure I was until I reached about 3rd grade and realized what was going on.  And of course I guess I wasn’t as cute by 3rd grade and the novelty of being the baby wore off .  By 3rd grade I must have found my own personality and started to have my own opinions.  Looking back now I realize dad must have not liked who I was even in 3rd grade  or  maybe I wasn’t as cute or maybe it was just because he never wanted to adopt and was forced into it by mom?  Probably a combination of all of these things but I’m guessing my looks and personality were drastically different than my sisters who was his biological child .  

I realized last night while cooking dinner that it’s over , this struggle, this fight to somehow prove to my mom that I am worthy of her love , affection and trust .  This deep desire to belong to this family , is over .  No more trying so hard to be perfect, to cook the perfect dish for birthdays and holidays.  No more trying to sell myself to a family who clearly has never truly accepted me as one of them .  As I cook my creamy potato cheese soup I think of mom , how she loved this soup and how I will never again cook her another meal .  I will never again try to prove my worth to any of them again .  Sacrifice my health and well being to somehow get a smile or the reaction that only in my mind means I am accepted as one them.  Every visit with them results in a score , we rate the visits like the Olympics . Score cards showing how this visit rates and I’m usually saying , oh they seem nicer or kinder this time . Hoping that somehow , someway,  I have managed to convince them that I am worthy of their love and trust . 

A GIANT burden has been lifted off my shoulders since mom has died.  The game is over , nobody won. Truthfully I am the biggest loser .  It is now clear,  they really just don’t trust me as they do their own blood related family .  If you were here and could see the way they acted and looked at me while my own mom was dying you’d understand why I felt I was intruding on their private and personal journey of watching mom die .  I was a stranger amongst them , not even appreciated like the paid caretakers were.  I have never felt so alone and lost in my life as I did in the hours before mom died.   At one point we were all standing around mom and I let my niece find a spot around her bed.  She looked at me and said no, you can stand here...shes your mother.  I paused, and had no answer or reaction to that.  I thought, really had to say that out loud, that she is my mother too?  Did you just realize that after 32 years of life?   

I realized as I wiped away my tears and served moms favorite soup ( from scratch ) last night, that the fight is over.  My dearest husband said to me "Dear" you have been married to me for 35 years, longer than you lived with your parents.  I am your family and so are our children.  We debated the issue, and it was clear to me last night for the first time, that mom really never was able to bond with me, or have the same feelings about me as she did her own birth child.  She wanted to have those feelings about me, but never could force herself to feel it. Its over now, the fight to try and win her over, to force her to have the same feelings about me, is absolutely over.  I will never be put in that situation again.  I will never feel like an intruder again with their family, the odd man out.   I realized last night that I dont have the same love for my own mom as the others do, not becusae I didnt try, and not because I didnt want that wonderful feeling of belonging to my mom,  but because she has failed me her entire life.  It is my moms fault and no fault of mine, and somehow I have to accept this hearbreaking reality and keep breathing and living each day.  Some mornings I wake up and cant believe I will never get another chance to make it right with mom, but I also have found comfort in knowing the fight to belong to her and the rest of my family is over.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Saint mom

At moms funeral my niece and nephew referred to mom as "The Saint."  My sister made sure the priest who did not know my family , heard the story about dad calling mom "The Saint."  The joke is on them.  My dad called mom a saint for another reason, it was not an endearing term.  I had heard it throughought the years growing up when my sister had already left the house.   This was a derogatory term,  insinuating that mom was not interested in sex.  I was quite shocked my sister didnt understand this and used this at moms funeral for the priests opening words, cannonizing my mom, "The Saint" so to speak.   I was mortified, yes dad called mom a saint, but not for the reasons my sister thinks.  

I cannot tell you how hard it was to listen to my niece and nephews eulogy.  My mom was referred to as the perfect person, one who never did anything wrong in her life.  Saint mom, the one who allowed such horrific abuse to take place right in front of her own two eyes, as blood was drawn, for years.  The same woman who went to work and saved peoples lives as a nurse.  Only to come home and allow her bully husband to do the unthinkable to me  The same woman who suggested I take my children to a homeless shelter when we needed a place to stay when the kids were little and we had lost our rental. Yeah, what a saint.  

The woman who refused to allow my daughter in laws family into her kitchen because she didnt want dark skinned people touching her belongings.  I will blog about this later, but this is not the life of a saint.  

In my opinion, when you decide to not have an opinion about something and take no action, that is a decision.  Doing nothing is a decision.  My mom spent her entire life making very few decisions and taking little to no action regarding anything.  Her usual resonse to something terribly wrong was, "Everyone is different."  This woman never had much of an opinion when it came to serious subjects such as abandonment or exlucsion, abuse, and other life alterning issues.  Her excuse, we are all different.   That is how she got out of making things right within her family, the cop out, the never ending excuse that allowed her and her partner in cime, her husband,  and my father to continue abusing those they should have loved.  If I ever hear how wonderful their marriage was again, I may not be able to keep quiet.  

Mom was not a horrible person, but lets make this clear, mom was far from a saint.