For Mom

It wasn’t easy growing up in my household. I don’t remember my dad at home much and moms moods were unpredictable.

I’m not sure what was wrong with Mom mentally, but I know she was frequently depressed. Sometimes she’d lock herself in her bedroom for a week at a time. I remember her not eating correctly. Sometimes she would just pour milk over a slice of bread in a bowl to eat. She and my dad would scream a lot while my brothers and I would lay in bed with our heads under the covers, yet we never talked about it. I remember the housekeeper we had for awhile when Mom “went away.” Again, we never talked about it. She cried a lot.

Through her sadness she was a beautiful woman. We frequently talked and laughed together. I remember sitting and chatting at the table as I helped peel a pile of potatoes for our family of 7 kids. She taught me how to knit and crochet. I never really learned how, but it was fun spending time with her. She taught me cribbage and card games. Sometimes we’d sit together in our dining room, which had one wall entirely of glass, and giggle as we watched the hordes of chipmunks skittering about.

She also was a woman of great conviction. At family reunions she would argue with other family members about Richard Nixon and his dirty tricks. I asked her why she didn’t join the group “Daughters of the American Revolution” as some of our other family members. She wouldn’t because she hadn’t forgiven them for their previous “whites only policy” which they revoked over 20 years earlier in 1952. She rarely talked about her mother but would share how proud of her she was because she would join her friends in black churches and enjoy the services, which was unheard of in her day. Even though sex was an uneasy topic for my mom, we watched the movie Victor/Victoria together and laughed at the situations among the gay characters.

Mom, I remember the day in sadness and tears you begged me not to live a life like yours. You begged me to be happy. I can’t say I’ve always been happy, it’s been a rocky road, but I’m sure you’d be pleased to know advances in mental illness have improved greatly since your day. Me and millions of others are benefiting from these advances.

I’m sorry you’re gone from my life, but you’ll always be in my heart.

I’ll always love you.

  10 comments for “For Mom

  1. May 13, 2008 at 10:55

    Wonderfully written. It is good to know we are not alone in our suffering. I, too am glad that we are in a better place with mental illness. Sometimes I have “survivor’s guilt.” My therapist said the generation before us hardly sought treatment. This is sad. When I feel guilty because I have gotten treatment and have lived a pretty well life knowing mom was without I think about what she would really want. She would be happy that I am better. I know the same would be so for your mom too.

  2. May 13, 2008 at 00:40

    A very good post, and a fine tribute to your mother. I have a great deal of respect for people who work around barriers within themselves. And, I’m really glad to have found your blog.

  3. May 13, 2008 at 00:28

    When we are young and confused it’s difficult to write with balance about a person who wasn’t always in balance herself. I know this because my mother was likewise impaired. Once we have matured we can write straight from out hearts to thank them for all the wonderful parts of our time together. You are a fine person Bradley and this is a fitting tribute to your mom. Thanks for blogging it so we could share it with you.

  4. May 12, 2008 at 22:53

    Wow! Great post for your mom! She be happy if she could read this:)

  5. Annie
    May 12, 2008 at 15:46

    Thank you for a beautiful post. I lost my mother three years ago and my partner to cancer one year ago. My mother had bipolar and was in pain much of the time. My partner and our son loved to celebrate mothers day and we miss her so much. Reading your post brought sad feelings yet so tender. Thanks again. Annie

  6. Shiv
    May 12, 2008 at 10:01

    Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing this with us!Your description of your mother really *really* reminds me of my own. My mother also was…eccentric in her eating, and in most other aspects of her life for that matter.@MChevalier, reading your words to Bradley made my heart swell. I hope you two have glorious lives together!~Shiv

  7. May 12, 2008 at 16:17

    Thank you Bradley for sharing such a moving post with us. Your mom most certainly knew how much you loved her. I am so touched by mchevalier’s love for you too. You guys must make an amazing team. Love and teamwork can overpower so many things.*hugs*Kim

  8. MChevalier
    May 12, 2008 at 09:00

    You’re not only my best friend, my lover, my husband, and my soul mate. You are truly the most wonderful man I have ever met in my life. You have such an amazing spirit, and I’m thankful that I get to spend every waking (and sleeping) moment knowing that you will be with me today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives. You inspire me to be not only a better man, but a better human being. I love you more than I can ever hope to express.

  9. May 12, 2008 at 03:44

    I really enjoyed this post. I know how tough it must have been just to write this, but stay strong, you seem like you are achieving all the goals set out for you in life.

  10. Jon
    May 12, 2008 at 03:07

    Beautiful. Thanks for that.

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