When the time comes for ya to breathe ya last breath, Will ya have any regrets about how ya lived ya life? I'm not speaking of the "I regret I didn't kiss Billy Bob Johnny while I had the chance." or "I wished I had been a mechanic instead of a dentist." What I'm asking is when the time comes for ya to meet God will ya have any regrets on how ya lived ya life in regards to others?
My Mother passed away today. April 3, 2010. She was in all sense and purpose the woman who gave me life. Most people know I grew up abused and most of it at her hands. This is in no way to pay her back by bashing her, Far from it. I'm writing this to enlighten people about moving forward with ya life with no regrets. I hid my abuse from everyone when I was growing up. Not even my closest friends in school knew my dark secret. I lived a life of fake smiles and happiness, Because I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. I shoved my feelings deep down and put others first. Believing if I could make them happy then what I endured was a small price to pay. I never believed I was entitled to any happiness, just misery. Every day I begged God to send me someone who could love me no matter what. I didn't know as a child my Mother & Father loved me to the best of their abilities. Right or Wrong in their mind they loved me.
It wasn't until I married and had children of my own that I learned why I endured all the abuse. One day I felt a strong conviction to confront my Mother. I had written a letter before hand, Fear that I might have forgotten to mention certain situations in my rush to expell all I was feeling. She read my letter first and then laid it on the table and replied "Well, what do ya want me to say?" I wasn't shocked by her response. I just told her I needed her to forgive me for the past. I truly believe that's the first time I ever shocked my Mother. She asked me why and I explained. "The forgiveness is for every time I wished ya dead, or hit by a huge mack truck while growing up. For every time ya laid ya hands on me or allowed my sexual abuse to go on. For the nightmares & flashbacks I still endure. I need to be forgiven for all the hate I sent ya way." She forgave me even though she didn't think she needed to forgive me, that it was her that needed to ask me to forgive her. Then she enlightened me about what she had learned. "People didn't talk about such things like they do now. I did what I was taught, and my parents did before me. Doesn't make it right, it's just how things were. I'm sorry for everything."
People need to learn something. When ya hate someone, that person has no idea ya hating them. They're out living their life while ya waste yas hating them. So when ya ask someone to forgive ya it's not so much for them as it is for the release and pace of mind to yaself.
My Mother may not have been the best parent, Yet I learned to forgive her for how I grew up. I was able to have a relationship with her that was cordial. My Mother was dying from Alzheimers. I didn't see her while she was this way. The last time I seen my Mother it was really good. I could tell she was in the beginning stages of her disease. I wanted to remember my Mother as she was in that moment. Not her not knowing who I was. I guess apart of me was afraid it would bring back those times as a child of being ignored, and that I didn't matter to her. I wanted to remember a good memory of her. One where she was laughing at me for a dare I pulled off much to my sis Anita's dismay. My sis had dared me to wear a doo rag on my head and a bra & thong over my clothes and walk around her apartment complex.Then I was to knock on my parents door to show them, She had my other sister follow me to make sure I did it. My Mother about fell over with laughter at the sight of me. Believe me I was a total mess! My Da told her "I always knew ya dropped her more then once!" We had dinner,played cards and just laughed. I didn't want that memory to be replaced with her not remembering me. Does this make me a bad person for not going to see her? NO! Why? Because I know the last time I was with my Mother she hugged me and told me she loved me. That means more to me then having my last memory of her wasting away in forgetfullness. Some people think I'm a horrible person for not seeing her, She was after all my Mother. But deep down I have no regrets, I know if given the choice my Mother would not have wanted any of us (My Da included) to see her die this was. She was ever the strong Italian, Native American woman.
I have some good memories of my Mother from when I was lil. How she took me to King's Daughter's Hospital for my leg braces and we stopped at Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips for lunch on the way home. "Don't tell ya siblings, it's out secret" she would say. How she stood up for me when a teacher expelled me for writing Jr. on an app test. She made the teacher apologise to me in front of the class, after she showed her my birth certificate which clearly said Poe Jr. (Blame my Da he said I looked like her and filled the birth certificate out) I also remember her asking me "Do ya even know who ya are?" Because I had answered to Anita's name. I told her "Nope, it's ya fault too! For 6 weeks ya called me Cassandra, and then ya find out I'm Poe what gives?" She would always laugh when that got brought up. There are some good memories that Anita and I joke about from time to time.
Would I have changed my childhood, If ya had asked me growing up I would've screamed yes. But knowing what all I learned by enduring what I did, I would say no. I learned to not take real love for granted. To accept that God had his hand in all of my childhood. He blessed me with a man who thinks I'm the next best thing to sliced bread. He loves me with all my imperfections. He walked into my life when I was 13 and I was smitten from the first sight of him. He still owns me heart and soul 30 years later. I was blessed with 3 beautiful children, that I raised without abuse. They were loved, protected and cherished. God blessed me with talents of art and poetry. A way to express myself through all my hurts and fears. I'm not saying I appreciated my abuse, I'm saying I learned to break the cycle, It ended with me!
No one can tell another person how to grieve or how to deal with a death. Ya can only do what's best for you. I know in my heart my Mother knew I loved her the best I could, just like she loved me the best she could. For that I have NO REGRETS. She is my Mother and I will always have a part of her with me. I am after all her namesake.
I Love Ya Ma
Rest In Peace Now