Monday, January 18, 2016

It's Only Me- Chapter 13- A Little Background

It has occurred to me that I have left out an integral portion of my life prior to leaving home. My Mom's illness was undoubtedly a very large portion of some of my problems - from drug abuse to the lack of any relationship with my brother. This is all an important part of my narrative. No excuses are being offerred here. Anything I did do was of my own choosing. But the background is a very necessary part of understanding who I was and even who I am.

My Mom developed ulcers around the time that my parents had that "chart/demerit" thing going which caused conflict between my brother and I. Each week, as I've said- the one with the least demerits got to go to the store and pick out a prize while the other watched and sometimes wept. That someone was usually me.

Looking back I realize that this was all the result of my Mom's nerves. She simply couldn't handle 2 small boys and developed ulcers. The blame somehow got shifted to me and I paid quite a price emotionally while growing up. Even today I carry the big "G" for guilt; and it is one heavy fucking cross to bear.

When my Mom became sicker with collitis and cancer we were told repeatedly that "this was the end" and Mom wasn't going to make it. Imagine going to school while wondering if Mom is dead or alive. You don't learn much under those conditions.

My brother and I fought viciously, to the point of the neighbors calling the cops. Our fights even encompassed knives at times, taken from the kitchen. This was all a product of my Mom's illness.

Make no mistake, I bear her no ill will in any of this. She was a victim as well. But I found that each time I was told that she wasn't going to make it- I found myself wishing that she wouldn't. Then I wouldn't be living under that dark, depressing cloud of uncertainty. That's where the "Big G" comes from.

The only good part is that I spoke with my Mom extensively concerning these feelings in the days leading up to her death. I would call her from phone booths all over the world while sailing. The last calls were from Norfolk and she told me, "You know you will never be able to live until I die." Not a question- a statement. And my reply? "I know, Mom, I know." And she responded with, "And that's okay." And it is.

I just needed to add this and one other thing- the trips we took as a family.
From 1963 through 1970 we went by car to Mystic Seaport, Fire Island, Montauk Point, Philadelphia (when the bell was sitting outside and you could touch it)Florida, Washington DC twice, Virginia, Dairy Farms in New Jersey and Coal Mines in the Appalachians.

My hat is forever off to my parents for the efforts they went to and the expense of money we did not have to take us on these trips. The memories are truly priceless.
So at 21 I was an enigma. On the one hand I loved these people who rejected me. And on the other hand I hated them for the rejection.

With that said- I can now move on back to the story at hand.

Now let's see, where was I?

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