January 15th would have been my mother’s 78th birthday. Nine months ago, she passed away suddenly from a massive heart attack while riding in the back seat of a taxi cab en route to a standard doctor’s appointment.
The emotions surrounding my mother’s death are still unpredictable and sometimes surprising. She and I had grown apart by the time of her departure, but the underlying ties that bind; these threads of my very existence sway from a non-existent tether of mother/daughter to a nagging tug of a heart string, to a jarring jolt of reality.
As mentioned in RIP Mom, my relationship with my mother was drastically different than your typical mother and daughter union. My mother’s mental illness did not allow her to have a standard relationship with me or my half-siblings. Throughout my lifetime, my mother was on the outs with any one of her three daughters at any given period in time; with me being the most recent (and at my choosing to keep her at an arms-length for MY sanity). Ironically, I was also the closest to her out of her three children.
The harsh words delivered regularly by my mother (i.e. “You want to know why you are fat……”) are now cushioned by memories of positive occasions with my children instead (i.e. “Did you know that Blueberry Hill was Grandma’s favorite song?”). The searing pain of the large wooden dowel cracking down my backside and across my skull, slowly being faded by happier thoughts (i.e. “Kids, I bought you some Stella D’Oro cinnamon twists!” “Oh, just like grandma used to share with us!”).