Thursday, November 15, 2012

A word or two on what's on my heart

I was born into this foreign mess. When I was little, I didn't have my head wrapped around the severity of the situation. My mom worked so hard to give me the life she envisioned for me. She worked multiple jobs (always being paid under the table), took sketchy trains from one side of the city to the other and did everything if it meant she could make a living. In return, she missed out on many parts of my childhood and it haunts her still today. She often jokes (maybe where I get my sarcasm from) that when I needed her the most, she was never available. And now that I'm older and don't" need her" anymore, she has all the time in the world. 

It's an awful feeling watching your parent grow old and become increasingly sick and helpless. It's bad enough that I always felt as if I were my parent's parents, but now it's so much worse. Each phone call I make that goes straight to voicemail automatically puts an awful list of "what if's" in my head. That list on top of all the other things I worry about happening if I'm not at home to come to the rescue. 
Throughout my life, I've watched my mom go from being a strong-willed woman who I hoped to be like one day, to a miserable person that I can barely connect with on any level anymore. It breaks my heart to see this happen to her. I've forgiven so many awful things she said and done because to me, that's not the mom I used to know. That's not the woman that once proved to be so strong, such a fighter. That person is gone. I have to remind myself of that so I don't take all the low blows thrown in my direction too personally. 
I'm not a believer in holding grudges. I'm not a person with any religious beliefs whatsoever. I just believe in treating people properly, being honest, and living your life well. But I can't forgive my dad for what he's done. I'll never be able to. If he would've just done his part in legalizing my mother when they were married, things would be so much different today. It truly was such an easy thing that could've kept the past 20 years of all of our lives from being so miserable. 
My "father" is almost 80 years old and my mother, almost 70 (obviously I was a surprise to them, but I'm beginning to think it was a medical wonder of sorts). My father has never been a constant fixture in my life even though he's always been around. He never asked how I was, never said "happy birthday" (unless pressed to do so by my mother), never had a good thing to say about me. In early court papers, when my parents were fighting for custody of me, he never referred to me by my name. I was "the child". All of these things hurt like hell when I was little, but I've gotten over them long since then. My mother hasn't. She holds herself accountable for "giving me" such an awful father. For me it's the opposite.. 
For me, it just hurts that he was never a husband to her. I never saw him give her a flower or say anything remotely kind or doting (unless he was putting on a front for company we had over). I do remember him dousing her in gasoline when I was 4. It might be one of the first memories I have. I remember her swinging a knife (presumably to keep him from hurting me too). I remember not seeing him for a while after that. 
I believe to at least a certain point, children love their parents just as unconditionally as parents love their children. After holiday upon holiday and year after year, I still kind of thought he's pull through. Maybe he wouldn't ruin Christmas this year. Wrong. Maybe he'd call this time? Wrong again. I gave him so many opportunities to be a dad. He just wasn't interested. 
That's neither here nor there, I suppose. I've suddenly lost track of what I intially set out to type entirely. Especially since this is all from my Blackberry right now and my fingers are cramping.. 
I just wanted to express how awful it is to watch someone you love become so helpless and sick. No citizenship= no insurance which basically makes you a dead man walking. Our health care system in this country, period, is such a hot mess. I feel like I've been a nurse myself at this point. What I've seen and gone through with my mother is something that nobody should ever have to go through. It completely rips your heart out. My biggest fear is coming home to find her dead. My second is her dying without me having tried everything I can in my power to take care of/get her assistance somehow. After all, she took care of me my whole life. 
I know I'm not the only one going through this. I want people to know they're not alone either. Someday its going to be us getting old and needing assistance and we really need to start giving a shit about our futures. Not just health care, but everything. We need to get together, help one another and push through all these crazy barriers. I honestly don't even know what to do anymore. 
In a random ending note to all of my friends with kids: don't spend so much time molding your parenting to whatever crazy standards society presents to us. As far as I'm concerned, I was raised by a single parent. I knew I could tell my mother anything and she'd help me through it in any way she could. Money was an issue, but I don't look back on my childhood and dwell on not having a certain toy. I just miss my mom being around for the good stuff. Oh. And not having a dad. Because I really think he missed out on getting to know a good girl. Even if you're divorced or separated  your kids love you for everything that you are, which is a parent first and foremost. Talk to them, be involved in their life, and care. The rest will take care of itself, I promise. 

Oh yeah, and let them eat cake for breakfast on the morning of their birthdays. That was always my favorite. ;)

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