I got a message this morning, informing me that my ex’s mother passed away on Saturday.
I am going to go to the wake, despite the fact that she and I did not have a good relationship most of the 7 years that I was involved with Bill.
I had an exceptionally tumultuous, unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship with Judy. I loved her...I hated her. She used me as a tool to pit between her kids at times; but at the same token – she treated me as if I was one of her own – and that was how she indeed treated everyone in her life. She was an alcoholic, and an abuser in general - and she was my first exposure in life to what a dysfunctional family really was all about. She was psychologically damaging to everyone around her, and that included me. I was absolutely devastated the first time I was the object of her anger. I didn’t see it coming; inretrospect, it was brewing for some time. But at the time, I had no idea -- I was completely blindsided. I refused to play the victim though; it angered me. It hurt, believe me; and it hurt every single time it happened. But I wouldn’t let her break me, and I wouldn’t back down from her – and I think she hated me that much more because of my refusing to let her win in that respect. She wasn’t my mother; I wasn’t emotionally bound to forgive her as her own kids were. So I could cut my ties if necessary. And I made her apologize every time. She never apologized to anyone....but I wouldn’t give in unless she did.
As many awful, horrible memories I have of her; I have some wonderful ones of her too. I think in her own way, she loved me. Holidays were always wonderful – she’s the one who really showed me a lot of how I celebrate my holidays today. And she never let me feel left out. Christmas morning – she always had just as many gifts for me as she had for her own daughters. She tried, as best as she could to treat me as if I was another daughter, which wasn’t necessarily something that needed to be done; but I think she wanted me to truly feel as if I was part of the family. That was sort of how they showed love for one another – with gifts. When I had a severely broken ankle, she was the one who took me to get my ankle casted the next day. She waited on me hand and foot when I couldn’t get up from the sofa. She’s the one who helped me shower when I couldn’t do it alone. I laughed a lot with Judy....I cried a lot with Judy. I stopped crying almost entirely after her.
If it wasn’t for Judy, I don’t know that I’d have had the strength to face some of the adversity I’ve faced since that time. She toughened me up. She taught me valuable life lessons that I wish I didn’t have to learn – and made me go through things that no one should ever have to go through. But you have to take the good with the bad. And the positive that I took out of it is this: While I hate that she and other people have mistreated me, and that as a result I’ve lost a bit of who I am and have emotionally retreated – I am far stronger of a person than I ever knew I was. She helped bring that out in me. Everyone comes into our lives for a reason....and I think the relationship I had with her son wasn’t the relationship I was supposed to “grow” through and learn from – it was my relationship with her.
At the time that my relationship with Bill ended, she and I weren’t speaking, as a result of yet another burst of her anger. I ran into her, about 4 years ago. We had polite chit chat, and at the end she said “I’m sorry. I really treated you badly, and that was wrong. I just want you to know I’m really sorry....” I said, “You know what Judy, don’t give it a second thought. It’s water under the bridge....”
She was, for all intents and purposes – my second Mother for a good portion of my life. An abusive mother – but mother none the less.
And while there’s all sorts of drama that is going to go hand in hand with my being there – I really do need to go and pay my respects to her. For me....it's letting go.
I need to say goodbye, and finally put that part of my life to rest.