Estrangement

For the past week, I’ve been meaning to write a post about how I feel now that she’s back, but I haven’t had much luck in finding the words to start it. Here I am again, attempting another go at it and thinking fuck it, I’ll write what I write. I’m over thinking my thoughts about this.

If you were to tell me three years ago that there would be an estrangement in my family between my mother and, well, everyone…I wouldn’t have believed you. Not my mother, not our family. We wouldn’t fall apart like that. We’ve always been together. Sure, we didn’t always get along…what family does? We were far from perfect but we were a family. I pictured Sunday dinners at my parents house, the house I grew up in. I pictured my mother there for every single milestone and significant event in my (and my kids) lives. It never occurred to me that she’d leave for whatever reason, that she wouldn’t call me on the daily and ask how I am and chat about everything and nothing. It never occurred to me that she would miss out on the birth of her second grandson, and many birthdays.

Then it happened, the estrangement. Her absence in my life left a void that I wasn’t be able to fill. My mother was gone, by choice. Her choice. My mother didn’t want anything to do with me. It didn’t matter her reasons, the hurt was raw and it still is. I would spend the next two years wondering why she didn’t want us to be a part of her life, even at a distance, wondering why and how come she just didn’t seem to want to know her grandkids. I would try not to think about it, but seeing Mother’s day commercials would cut me like a knife.

A month ago, I thought this estrangement would never come to an end. I couldn’t foresee her apologizing or coming back, too much time had passed. But then, she did.

Seeing her last week for the first time in two years was…well it was something else. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. My sisters did, but I couldn’t. Not then. I just sat there, drinking my tea and listening to her stories about where she’d gone and what she’d been up to.

She missed us, she said. She thought about us every day. She wrote us letters she never sent. She remembered every birthday. She thought about her grandkids often. She wanted to piece herself back together after everything, but choose the wrong person to hang around to do so. She was depressed, she wasn’t in a good place. Her entire life had been thrown upside down and she wasn’t sound enough to stand on her own two feet.

I get that, I suppose. I can’t imagine how it would feel. My heart aches for any woman to experience such a thing. I used to scoff about how if it happened to me, I’d be so much stronger. I’d carry on. But how do I know that? I don’t, because it hasn’t happened to me. I’m still with the love of my life. I used to tell myself that I wasn’t that dependant on Matt that if he left I’d be ruined. But…

Maybe I am. I do depend a LOT on Matt for a lot of things. And that’s okay. I think I’d be able to handle myself in the event I’d need to, but I don’t know if the sadness and despair would overwhelm me as it did her.

I try to keep that in mind, now that she’s back. Now that she’s apologized and explained herself and told us she wants us back in her life, however we’ll have her. I’m scared to trust her, even though trusting your mother is almost instinct. It’s natural. At least, in cases like mine…where she was dependable for the most part. Sure, she didn’t always get the mothering gig right and she made her fair amount of mistakes with us, but she was there and she loved us and she cared.

When she went away, I questioned if she ever did care…because how could one care if they go away? If they leave? I was angry. I was hurt. I am angry and I am hurt. But…I’m giving her chances because she’s my mother and, while although I’m guarded about it, I don’t want to not have her in my life…not if she’s back to being her again, being Mom again. I’m still scared that it could happen again, that this is too good to be true. The lost mother returning to parent again. You know? But…all you can do is forgive and trust. I can’t forget, but I can try to build trust back up again. I’ve got no idea how to do that…but I can try.

Today, I took the boys over to my sister’s house to have a visit with her. I watched her genuine happiness to be around her grandkids, to see N and X for the first time in two years again and to meet AJ and D for the first time ever. I watched her bond with them again. The kids hugged her, they kissed her, they played with her and they trusted her as only children know how to do.

A week ago, we learned about a potential threat that prompted me to shut down my Facebook and make my blog private (for all of a day). The not-so-good person her was hanging out with (and isn’t, anymore) made a threat about us, her family, because he was mad at her. I wasn’t, and am not, sure how to take that. I’ve been writing for seven years and I’ve never really thought about someone wanting to hurt me or my family in some way and having a platform (this blog, social media, etc) to potentially do so, so…this blog may or may not disappear because of that. I’m going to start referring to the boys as N and AJ…although that almost seems pointless because so much of this blog was written with their names, so…yeah. Maybe it’s a fruitless attempt, maybe not. I don’t know.

My dad doesn’t want us to have anything to do with social media, because he’s scared about what lurks in unknown corners, this not-so-good person and those threats in particular. He hates Facebook and he doesn’t like that I put this much out there. Most of my family will never understand the release I feel when blogging. They think that a diary (one of those pen to paper, only for my eyes things) will satisfy my need to write. But it isn’t just about a need to write, it’s about a need to share my stories, my thoughts, my words. It’s about the community, and while I don’t trust total strangers, I don’t feel like anything I put out here is harmful to me in any way…but maybe I’m wrong. My dad seems to think so.

I don’t know what to think. I’ll probably bounce back and forth from making my blog private and private protecting posts, and letting it all hang out. I can’t delete it…I’ve invested so much time and effort into making this blog what I want and need it to be. My place, my voice.

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  1. mscat

    I can’t even imagine…the conflicting emotions…ugh.

    I know one person who has had a major rift with a parent and they went back and forth for years…reconciling and calling truce and then becoming estranged again…I don’t know what advice could possibly be offered in this situation. I guess if it were me I would probably stay guarded – hurt does not just disappear. At the same time, I think you’re making the right decision to bring your children around because they are innocent in all of this and in some way they have a right to know their grandmother as long as she is in a good place and not a danger to them.

    Reply

    1. I am scared of that….the people I know who are estranged from family members have the same kind of relationship. Sometimes it’s okay, other times it’s really not. And on the worse end…they never make up. I’m afraid in being in either of those categories. I can honestly say IF it happens again, I won’t even considering trying to make amends again. I hope that won’t be the case..but you never know.

      Reply

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