At the End of the Road…….

   I would like to tell anyone reading this one, it is more of a therapy writing for me. I feel I should at least apologize up front. I fired this one off in almost no time but in doing so I think I found a bit of relief. If anyone does manage to make it through feel free to leave comments. They could only help and give direction I have yet to see.

 The news of my mothers death today opened a floodgate that I had tried to keep sealed up for many years. Our relationship went from rocky to non-existent over the years. One of my younger half brothers finally made contact with me after 24yrs and although I asked him not to, he gave my number to my mother. After a long, hurtful and tearful conversation, we started turning the wheels of healing.  We only managed to speak a handful of times over the next year though. I was learning a bit about my family and where I fit in in the scheme of things.  A message on Facebook and a phone call ended it all. That gate was drawn shut one final time.

I am sitting now staring at this screen with so many emotions running through me. There is a sense of loss, she was my mother after all. There is anger. This makes the third time she has left me. There is the jealousy that my brothers grew up with her while I was kicked aside & forgotten, not once, but two times. There is failure, similar to losing that big account, I lost something I was working at. There is a numbness since I lived 95% of my life without her anyway. But worst of all there is confusion. Why am I feeling anything other than numbness?  We tried to bridge a gap, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a successful venture. Neither one of us made much of an effort over a years time. Yes I said it was something I was working at, but the ‘working’ started inside me to try to overcome a lifetime of hurt and bitterness. Theoretically I had blocked out much of it to ‘protect my inner child’ and that was the part of me that was hurt the most and therefore carried all the scars and that ‘child’ in me needed healing. (Bet you thought I’d seen a therapist didn’t you? NOPE!) All the psychobabble aside, REALISTICALLY I had shoved all the pain and hurt down and allowed it to fester into a hatred. The ‘not recalling’ things was actually me being a, if you will indulge me, bitch.

Let me backpedal for a minute. She left the first time when I was 5. I watched my dad raise me alone and I think he did a pretty good job even though I often suspected he had no idea what to do with a girl!  My dad died when I was 16. In swooped my mother playing the roll of loving parent until she found out she could not get my inheritance, then, as if she were never there, she packed up and moved away in the middle of the night leaving me looking around at the age of 16 alone in the world and feeling like a 5yr old again.  I had serious issues to work out. I realize I am not the only person to have a crappy childhood. Just turn on network TV in the afternoon. I will say that I made a conscious effort to never use that as an excuse for anything in my life. It made me harder and more of a loner, but stronger as well. I began to see people who trace their problems back to a hard childhood as weak. I despised those in jail for whatever reason using the excuse ‘my mom didn’t  love me’ .  Neither did mine yet I managed not to become a menace to society. I would berate myself if I ever felt those feelings start to emerge.  I refused to allow myself to say “my mom didn’t love me” if I had a bad relationship or if I messed up at work.  My past simply had no bearing on decisions I made day to day as an adult.

 That is why I had a hard time reconnecting with my mother this past year. I not only had to try to forgive her, I had to find a way to forgive myself for not allowing myself to feel and work through all the pain. Since I refused to allow myself to process the grief of a child losing a mother I have absolutely no idea how to do it now as an adult. Does not compute.

Here, at the end of the road, I discover my mom at peace and myself sitting here full of regrets and emotions that will just have to run their course.

At the end of the road, you may just find all the bumps and ruts you ran over were of your own making and if at any time you forgot to detour to find yourself, back up. rectify it before it’s too late. you truly do not know how long you have or how much better it could have been if you had not tripped yourself up by dodging too many things or believing there would be plenty of time later.

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Southern Girl vs Up-North

6 years ago I moved from Tennessee to Michigan with my Husband. This is my story of how the 2 cultures came to clash in our own home!

I was born in Georgia. I lived most of my life in Tennessee. I am a Southern Girl! What, you may ask, brought me to Michigan? Well, let me tell you, every winter as I look at 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground daring me to make it to work, I ask myself that very same question!

I dearly love the South and I miss the mountains of Tennessee everyday, but I am adapting to life here on Lake Huron as well! Southern hospitality can be a ‘harsh mistress’ at times, which is what led me here, I met my husband in Tennessee while he was down with his mother who lives there now. I was convinced of love at first sight when I saw him and all bets were off thereafter! Little did I know his home was the U.P. (or upper penninsula) of Michigan! Shortly after we met, he moved in with me.

We went on hurricaine relief after ‘Katrina’ desimated New Orleans. During that time I had learned much about the love of my life including where he was from, as well as how the southern spirit can bite you in the rear as well! We were not paid as we were supposed to be,( prompting a future blog, beware of relief contractors!) and while we were there my landlord assumed I had abandoned my home, sold all my belongings, and re-rented my home. We had nowhere to go. That’s when my husband said those words that put a chill in me, literally! “Why don’t we go up to Michigan. My family is there and we will make a fresh start.”

I’m sorry…. did you say ‘make’ it fresh? Hell, Everything here stays fresh! It’s so cold most of the year, a freezer is a frivolous investment! I will never forget arriving! It was Thanksgiving week and it had already snowed! That particular snow lasted ’till after Easter! I wasn’t even sure there was grass here! I spent most of that winter getting around on my rear-end or hanging off someone’s arm! Driving was OUT OF THE QUESTION! I was from Tennessee. If it snowed there, we waited ’till after noon for the roads to clear before we went out! I rarely drove in snow yet I was soon to learn! Northern ways-1 Southern girl-0.

I have to laugh remembering my father’s favorite phrase; “It’ll be a clod day in July before I’ll ever……..” . The first summer of my ‘acclimation’ we lived right across the road from Lake Huron and had a wonderful view of the 4th of July fireworks show the town hosted on the shores of the lake. It was a fantastic show…… which we watched in the front yard…. around a bonfire…. wearing coats and sweatshirts…. I kept thinking “Daddy, you’d be awfully busy this year doing all those ‘cold day in July’ activities”! Northern ways-2 Southern girl-0.

Ice fishing. Now there’s a concept I can’t quite wrap my brain around! The closest I ever came to ice-fishing was pulling the day’s catch out of the ice-chest to clean them or picking the best cuts from the ice in the grocer’s display! Why in God’s name would anyone go out in the freezing cold, on freezing ice, cut a hole under themselves; (did you get that? a hole in the ice RIGHT UNDER YOU!) and try to catch fish! I understand that there are those that put a ‘shanty’; a tiny little shack that, for all the world, looks like an outhouse; and take a portable heater with them! I’m sorry…… in my southern-fried mind if you are sitting on ice with a hole already in it, heat would NOT be your best friend! But there they are, every year, and absolutely none of them melted themselves through the ice! Northern ways-3 Southern girl-0.

Cross country skiing is another sport I was introduced to here, also one I am not culterally equipped to handle! Apparently you basically strap short skis to your feet and with the aid of poles, walk-glide down a trail. I am still trying to master walking on my own feet in winter, I don’t think I will strap on modified fence posts! All the better to impale yourself my dear! Northern ways-4 Southern girl-0.

As I stare down the barrel of another winter through the fall leaves, I have a funny feeling I won’t score any better this year!

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