Monday, January 23, 2012

Conflicted Emotions.

This is what I wrote down trying to process my feelings & thoughts after learning of my mother's death. It's all very jumbly & confusing

So this weekend my mother died, & I'm not sure how I feel or how I'm supposed to feel or really anything. Those of you who know me know that I've not had a relationship with my mom for years, but that doesn't prevent the emotional confusion.

The last thing my mother said to me was "get a real job or die on the street." I was extremely, obviously ill at the time, & that was what she had to say. She had spent the previous several years hurting my physically-I have dents in my skull that I was not born with-and verbally abusing me and justifying her husband's abuse of me. So, if that is my mother, if that is who she is, then how I feel right now is probably appropriate and normal. Mourning one's abuser and tormentor isn't something that is reasonable to expect of anyone. Numbness, if not outright relief, is a reasonable thing to expect.

But my mother wasn't always like that. When I was young, she fought for my intelligence and capabilities to be recognized. When I was being tormented at school by teachers and students alike, she logged many many hours talking to teachers and parents of other kids in my classes. I've been having roughly identical "WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DAMN DIFFICULT?!?!?" meltdowns since I was about seven years old. When I was little she'd squish me tight, stroke my hair, & say "I don't know, punkin. I just don't know." She didn't understand me by any stretch of the imagination, but the mom I had when I was little sure tried. She made mistakes, as do all parents, some of them pretty huge, as with all parents, but the mom I had when I was little was doing everything in her power to do what was best for me.

And that's what makes this so complex & difficult. The mother of Little K was a woman worth mourning. The mother of Adult K was scary & upredictable & abusive, and not ever dealing with her again is a relief. But I had it in my head that Little K's mom could be somehow revived.

That's probably not the case though. Little K's mom died a long time ago, I think, even though her body never went anywhere. I think I knew that and did my mourning and mental burying a long time ago. The scary person occupying her body is not the mother I could once depend on to always be on my side, even when she didn't understand why that was my side.

So being numb is probably ok. I think I came to terms with my mother's death years ago and just hadn't thought of it that way. Feeling guilty about being numb, probably also ok, but not necessary. Or something. I don't know.


Anonymous said...

Feelings have no moral quality, unless you feel them on purpose (which most people under most circumstances can't do even when they want to.) Actions, attitudes and beliefs do have moral qualities.

I'm sorry for your loss - both the loss of little K's mother and the loss of any (even theoretical) possibility she would return.

I felt pretty numb for a while after my Nan died, and she was a good woman who loved me and only ever did nice things for me. It took me a while to feel sad.

Anonymous said...

Mourning is very complex. If you're lucky, it's all about the person - their good qualities, the things you'll miss, the things they'll miss by not being in the world any more.

If you're unlucky then you're grieving for the things you wished they'd done, the person you wished they had been able to be. You're grieving that fact that there will always be negativity associated with them, when you'd hoped it could somehow been made right. And being human, a lot of us still self-blame, 'it might have been different if I'd been different, if I'd tried harder', no matter the actual reality.

That kind of loss is very hard to process.

(((autie hugs))) - the slightly awkward kind.

Rob said...

This is very difficult. My parents died a few weeks apart when I was about your age, and I had very mixed feelings- and often no feelings- about their deaths. They had not been "parents" to me for quite some time, and I felt very similarly to the way you describe.

I'm remembering a line from an old movie, "Death ends a life, but not a relationship." Trite but true. You now have a finite amount of things to resolve about your mother, but they still need resolution. There are no "bad" ways to feel, only thoughts and actions that are beneficial to you or not. Beneficial is much better. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry...for lack of a better word? I hope you have someone close by to be good to you right now.

Dixie Redmond said...

Kassiane - It is a hard thing at times to look at what we feel. I feel teary reading this, for the abuse that you experienced, and also for you in what must be a very confusing time. That's a lot to deal with. I am sending you what my 81 year old mentor calls "strong thoughts." I think you are strong already, but times like this require acknowledgement.

Anonymous said...

I suspect I know how you feel. I felt much the same when my grandfather died. He taught me to skip rocks while simultaneously squeezing my breasts. He tortured cats (and emulated their yowling when interacting with my cats) and bragged about it. He ran over a dog on purpose with his terrified daughter in the car. He took me on walks to fish hatcheries. Complicated relatives are complicated.

Also, I'm not sure if you can do anything about this, because they may just force you to use it this way now. But the way the comment box works is absolutely impossible for me to use on my iPod (no matter what browser I use), making it incredibly hard for me to comment most of the time. I can, however, comment on Dave Hingsburger's blog, Rolling Around in my Head, just to give an example of a Blogspot comment box format that actually works. Again, I don't know if it's possible (or desirable to you), but if you could change it at some point it would render things much, much more accessible to me. Because I don't use my computer to surf the net most of the time due to the painful angles I have to get into to use it in bed.

Neurodivergent K said...

Thanks for letting me know. I'll probably have to fiddle with the HTML, but an accessible comment box is important.

Anonymous said...

Yay! The comment box works! Thanks!