callistahogan: (Default)
It was a gradual change.

I noticed more arguing, less love. I noticed my mother seemed different; she got angry about the weirdest things, and then all of a sudden, she would cuddle up next to my dad. During those moments, I remember sitting next to her on the arm of the couch, sharing a bag of popcorn as we watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. My mom had always been good at the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune; it only took her about three turns of the wheel before she had enough letters to figure out the answer. My dad would come in during Jeopardy, which he had always been a marvel at.

Perhaps that is one of my strongest memories of my mother when she still lived with us, because it was a picture of what we were: a happy mother and daughter. Although there were moments when we did not get along -- most particularly when she tried to convince me that reading Harry Potter was a sin because it contained witchcraft -- we were, at the heart, typical. I remember vividly watching figure skating and gymnastics with her when I was young. I also remember watching her work out to Denise Austin in the mornings before I went to school. I remember going shopping for my first bra, and how she seemed so excited to take me.

And then it all imploded.

It had been coming for a while, through small changes that would have been unnoticeable to all but our closest friends, but it hit the whole family hard when it finally did happen. One minute, I was in bed, watching TV, and then the next, I heard an argument break out downstairs. I thought it was nothing -- arguments were getting more common lately -- but then I woke up the next morning and she wasn't there. Things snowballed, faster and faster, and then suddenly my mother was living with my maternal grandmother or my aunt and uncle, and the word "divorce" came up with ever increasing prevalence.

Within six months, right after I went to junior high, my mother and father had divorced. We (my father and I) moved into my grandmother's house, where we still live today, albeit with my brother. My mother lived with family members for a while, and then she was placed in a home. It was primarily for her schizophrenia, I found out later when I could finally understand the situation.

It's hard being around her even now, because the little child in me can't help blaming her for breaking up our family. The adult in me knows that it's not her fault -- it could never be her fault -- but I can't help the awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I see her.

Sometimes she makes me want to run. Run as far away as I can, so I don't have to remember the happiness I had felt in my childhood knowing that my family was always going to be together. I want to run during every family function, because she seems so young now. She acts like a teenager, squealing about Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Potter like she never considered the series a sin. It is hard being around her, to remember the way our family had been and think about how it is now. It is hard being around her knowing how her illness is affecting her life, and by proxy, my own.

Yet I don't run, because she is my mother.

Instead, I run away from the feelings she inspired in me when she got a divorce from my father. I run toward the possibility of success, both in school and in my writing. I run toward my goals, toward everything that I strive so hard to be. I might walk toward rebuilding that relationship with my mother, but I run headlong into the possibility of understanding her, of knowing that it's not her fault what happened to my family.

The relationship will come, even though it is a slow one. I don't understand her yet, and my relationship with my father is much stronger than my relationship with my mother. My sister managed to build a relationship with my mother, so I suppose it is only a matter of time before I am old enough, mature enough, and ready to help her in any way I can.

I just have to wait for the strength -- and when it comes, I will be ready to run, not walk, toward that relationship that I used to have with my mother, and the relationship I want so badly to get back.

--

This was my entry for Week 11 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. I hope you enjoyed it.

Date: 2010-01-23 10:37 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] jenandbronze.livejournal.com
HUGS. I guess it isn't easy to build a relationship with your mother with her issues, but am glad you have a strong relationship with your dad. It isn't easy, but I haven't been in anyone's shoes to experience what this is like as my parents have and will always be together.

Date: 2010-01-23 11:44 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] alephz.livejournal.com
It's such a hard bit to do, too, that reconnection. Hard, but worth it.

Best of luck.

Date: 2010-01-24 01:44 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] cheshire23.livejournal.com
The disconnect/reconnect process has repeated many times in my own life. It's hard. :/

Date: 2010-01-24 03:30 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] drippedonpaper.livejournal.com
My mother has NPD. I so long for a relationship/connection with her yet..I hope you can find one with your mom. IF For some reason it does not ever turn in to what you hope (and I hope it will work out) please know, it is NOT you, it is probably just her mental struggles.

To some extent, I realize I have to just love and accept how my mom is instead of to keep longing for the relationship it seems we will never have.

I do hope your relationship with your mom will come. I'm almost 32. I don't..it doesn't seem it is going to happen for me and my mom.

I hope differently for you. Just know it can take a long time. Don't blame yourself, I am nearly twice your age but can't pull it off myself.

::hugs:: hon. I'm sad you had to go through this kind of pain.

Date: 2010-01-24 06:46 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] majesticarky.livejournal.com
Very thoughtful and insightful... It's really hard living with someone with mental instability. My boyfriend was estranged with his father, in a similar case of events, but in his case, his dad died a couple years ago without any hope of reconciling. It's good that you're trying to forgive your mother and have a relationship with her.

Date: 2010-01-24 07:27 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] shadowwolf13
shadowwolf13: (Default)
I didn't grow up with a relationship with my mother ... but it looks like I'll have the chance to build that relationship starting in the next year or so. I hope your time comes as soon as you are ready for it.

Date: 2010-01-24 06:52 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] beautyofgrey.livejournal.com
This is well-written though heartbreaking. I connected a lot with the early scenes of family (we were also regular Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy fans when I was younger).

I'm sorry you have to deal with schizophrenia - it is so incredibly painful to watch those we care about struggle with mental disorders.

Date: 2010-01-24 10:56 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] mstrobel.livejournal.com
What a story. Thank you for sharing it <3

Date: 2010-01-25 12:33 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] twistersflower.livejournal.com
How sad! I didn't know that about your mother. You are so wise beyond your years and write so beautifully.

Date: 2010-01-25 04:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] risingtofall.livejournal.com
oh wow, is your mother pretty stable now with the schizophrenia? My best friend's father was like that, and i've seen the toll that takes on a family.

Date: 2010-01-25 10:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
It depends on the day, really. Some days she's fine, I hear, but other days she's not so great. Some days she doesn't even allow her mother to see her, but other days... she's okay.

Date: 2010-01-25 05:22 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] kutiechick.livejournal.com
This was so powerfully written - I couldn't look away. Good luck with the rebuilding - it can be hard; and good for you -- run toward those goals of yours! :)

Date: 2010-01-25 11:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] talonkarrde88.livejournal.com
I think it's a good thing, a great thing that you took that experience and went forward with it, turned it into a positive motivation to do the best you could for yourself. And with such an attitude, it should only be a matter of time before you can reconnect with her. A long time, perhaps, but everything you wrote gives hope for the future.

Date: 2010-01-26 12:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com
Mental illness is so difficult for everyone involved. Your feelings are very natural. At least you try. Many would not!

Date: 2010-01-27 10:14 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] horosha.livejournal.com
I am 25. My parents divorced in 1997. It was only last month that I felt myself ready to try to have a relationship with my father again. Like you, that child in me blamed him for the divorce and all those years of emotional neglect that came afterward. One of the hardest things I ever had to do was to decide "I'm not going to be angry at this person anymore." Only after that was I able to even talk to the man (and even then, it definitely was not overnight). Being able to mend that relationship was a tremendous healing experience for me. I hope one day you are able to have some sort of relationship with your mother--one that's just as healing for both of you.

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