That is a question that is often asked. Throughout my life there had been people in life that had influence on my life, both bad and good. But as I sit here tonight at my desk, I think I can answer that question. That would be my mother. She made me realize what it means to be human.
I would say the darker side of being human. The part of us that we don’t like to think about or admit to ourselves or to other people. The side of us that is a failure, weak, coward and so on. Through her influence I feel like I can accept those same things in me, understand them and as a result be a better person.
How I arrived at that conclusion, will that would be hard to explain in a few paragraphs in a blog post. Of all the people in my life, my relationship with my mother was the most complex and complicated one. I could probably write a serious of books just covering that relationship in my life. But there are two things in our relationship that I will cover here.
The Big Question
One question that stands out in my mind that made our relationship complex and complicated: Why didn’t she do anything about my father. For a long time in my life I felt betrayed by mother in regards. Surely she had to know what was going on. Maybe not everything, but a lot of it. Outwardly, like so many people, she saw my father as a good person and parent. How could she say that but more importantly leave me and my brother to our hell with our father? Did she not care for us at all?
But like a lot of things, I realize now that it is easy to sit on the sidelines and pass judgement about what someone should do. Another person may even pass judgement and if they where in my mother’s place might have done something about my father like make him quit or leave him so me and my brother could have a safe place to grow up. But that isn’t the point is it?
The point is that because we are human, we will be like my mother. That we will do nothing and pretend nothing is happening. For the simple reason is that the situation we find ourselves in we cannot do anything about. We cannot do anything because to do something is to admit there is something wrong. That wrong is too much for us to accept.
So we pretend nothing is happening or the situation is better than it is in reality. I think for my mom that was the case. I don’t think she could admit to herself that the man who at one time was a lovely person and good parent would turn the way he did. Might have been that one simple thing would change things so much for the worse. Whatever the reason, my mom couldn’t face what was happening let alone do something about it.
That is something I can understand, because it is something I have done myself. Not the same situation as mother, but the same effect. I didn’t want to admit to doing. But their have been times when I couldn’t accept what was going on in that time of my life. When I looked the other way and either did nothing or made things worse. By those actions I let myself down but more importantly other people. Things that I could be judged just as harshly as my mom.
Between me and my other two living siblings at the time, there was a split about what to do with mom near the end of her life. Yes mom had her problems but she liked her independence and my thinking was let her to do that as much as possible. The younger sibling wanted to put mom in a nursing home as a way extracting revenge on her for letting dad do what he did for us. The other sibling well she didn’t now want to do.
There was a part of me that agreed with the younger sibling. Put mom in a nursing home and let her rot with her independence gone. Revenge for what we had to deal with father growing up and she didn’t do anything about. The question to myself would that be the right thing to do?
The simple answer is no. I shouldn’t let other people’s actions towards me dictate my actions to them. I should do what I think is right irregardless of their actions. To me putting mom in a nursing home was wrong and she should be able to live her life the way she wanted with support from us to do that.
It ended up being a great debate between me and my younger sibling. One that would strain our relationship. In the end, my younger sibling got her way and got the court to commit mom to a nursing through lies and manipulation. By doing so, the younger sibling did get her revenge because being commuted broke my mom and her mind over the course of a few months went downhill until she mercifully died.
My younger sibling, might have got her revenge but I wonder if it was worth it. I broke off my relationship with both my siblings over it. I didn’t want anything more to do with them. I don’t want to be around people who are willing to do that to another person. I had enough of people like that especially in my childhood.
I am not sure what to say here. Sometimes it is hard to wrap things up. Especially when what you write is very emotional and hard to write about it in the first place. I just feel so drained from the process that there is no conclusion.
But yes seeing mom’s actions and failures over my life and reflecting on them, has allowed me to see the same things in myself. In the process, maybe unlike my mom I can admit at least to myself my weaknesses as a person and owed up to them.
It also reminds what is true courage. It is not what they show us as courage, but admitting to our humanity. To face those failures instead of hiding them away. To admit to our weakness and do something about them like asking for our help. To take responsibility at least to ourselves about our failings in life. Often this courage is something that is not seen by other people. We are alone in our mind in facing who are as a person good and bad. That takes a lot of courage and strength to do that.