Monday, April 09, 2007

Letting go....

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's letting go.

I need to say goodbye, and finally put that part of my life to rest.


Penny said...

Wow, that is a really powerful post. I'm sorry for your loss.

I have such a great relationship with my Mother-in-law, that I can hardly imagine what that was like. But it seems like you and Judy both became better people because of each other.

Ultimately that's what the best relationships do, they make you stronger. It's inspiring to read about someone turning a tough situation into a positive.

gunngirl said...

That really was a very soul releasing post, I can tell it was cathartic for you. I like that you said she "toughened you up" Good. I'm glad that something good and long lasting came from your relationship with her.

Glad that you can let go.

P.S. I had the exact same avatar background, including rabbit and basket, for my Easter avatar. Hee.

bigwhitehat said...

I don't really understand what you're grieving. It sounds like a mixture of this woman and your past. But that aint really important. The fact is you are grieving and you decide how to do that for yourself.

Just know this, I love you and pray for you.

I also figure you are doing the right thing by going. Very seldom have I ever seen an unwelcome person at a funeral. Her family will be glad to see you.

Suldog said...

That's very tough stuff to write about. Good for you for finding the strength and resolve to do so!

When you say your prayers there, please know that many of us are adding ours for you this night.

martie said...

Relationships with in-laws can be difficult at best. I don't have a good relationship with most of my in-laws....many ups and downs, mostly downs. It's good to go and pay respects, glad you're doing that. I'll be thinking of you and praying too!