What did my mother ever do to you? What did her children, including me, do to you? Throughout our lives you showed us so much hate. You were critical of something we did or didn’t do at least once every time we ever saw you. I just don’t understand why you treated us like that. Why?
From the stories I’ve been told, my mother had a strong will when she was a child, but I don’t think she was a brat. She may have been resistant to doing things she thought were fundamentally wrong or ridiculous. She felt strong enough about her convictions that she’d stand up to you and even take your beatings and your verbal abuse, and your verbal abuse was often quite harsh. Really it was your mouth that did the most abusing during all of my mother’s life. You said to her what you said to me, that you wish “someone else like X” would have been your daughter/granddaughter instead of us. You called all of my siblings bad, and many other mean names. You even hit us for the most minor offenses, and even fabricated offenses. My brother was the most rebellious against your wrath, and he paid dearly for that. But he continued to rebel (like my mother often did), because being subservient to you was less desirable.
You fought with my father, as well, from as early as his childhood. [Yes, my mom and dad were even childhood sweethearts.] You considered him a hooligan and disrespectful, and insulted his family. He was even once insulted by you so badly that he broke your screen door in anger. Perhaps that was too much, but the vitriol you spewed out made it hard for him to control his frustration.
I would like to let this post’s readers all know that my mother, dad, and siblings and I were good people. We all worked hard in life and played by the rules. We were kind and giving people. My mother did many things to try to please and appease this old woman. We definitely didn’t understand why this goodness looked so different to this old woman I’ve been describing. Was she delusional? And yet, my maternal uncle, though a good man too, got into so much more trouble than my mother in his youth and hardly paid a price at all, at least comparitively. Later down the line my maternal uncle’s wife, adopted son, and even dogs were put on higher pedestals than those in my immediate family. Actually, this woman’s friends and even strangers were treated much better than my mother, father, siblings and I.
The very last day my mother was at home the old woman came bitching that my mother hadn’t visited her for a while. Yes, this old woman expected visits. She didn’t want to miss opportunities to criticize or control. But my mother was gravely ill. She had been very overweight for a while, but it happened that her liver had swelled to several times its normal size, making her look even bigger. That wasn’t discovered until the next day in the hospital, believe it or not. So what did this woman say to my mother on that visit? She called my mother “a pig”, instead of being concerned about her health. Yes, a pig! Not that that would be even remotely acceptable under any circumstances.
Being sick and taking one too many insults, my mother yelled at her to “get the Hell out of my house”. So the old woman stormed out and didn’t see my mother again until she went to the hospital where my mother was dying. From what I’ve heard, neither spoke to each other much at all in the hospital. At my mother’s funeral, the old woman said virtually nothing to my father, siblings or I, either.
This old woman still expected visits from my father, siblings and I after my mother’s death. I’ll admit that I saw her a few more times, but couldn’t get the “pig” insult to my mom out of my head, which my mother told me about in the hospital. Then I just stopped visiting this old woman. My siblings saw her twice more in a nursing home, but the old woman chased them out for no good reason.
The old woman eventually died. She left all of her wealth to my uncle, his wife and son. My siblings and I got pretty much nothing. At her funeral, I guess my uncle told the minister to be careful how he praised her. Definitely calling her a kind and loving mother and grandmother was not entirely true. My uncle and his family sat near the grave site. My family stood some distance away. My uncle and his family told loving stories about her. My family said nothing at all at the event.
I will never know why my mother and her family were treated so badly. It will always be a mystery. It’s a real shame. She lost out on being loved by some pretty damned good people. Luckily for us, we did have a sweet maternal grandfather (who was nitpicked by his wife) and wonderful paternal grandparents.