Recognize your Strength. My mom recognizes hers.

I have been honored and approved to share my mother’s story to the online world. There is not a stronger person who has overcome so much in their life than her that I personally know of. It will be a brief summary of her battles. But to start let me tell you a little bit about her. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio on May 24th, 1962. She loves food, movies, animals, her family, gardening, dream houses, and helping people. She also loves art and was an incredible artist in high school. My mother is caring, klutzy, and hilarious. She has a smile and eyes that light up a room. I have admired her and become attached to her since our eyes first met. Even as a little girl I always marveled at the mother I was given and how so many of my friends just didn’t have a mother that was as close to them. I talked to my mother about that. You can imagine my shock, when she revealed to me that she had not been very close with her mother from the beginning.

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My mother.

Her past is a tough one to swallow. My mother became close to my grandma when my mothers father died of cancer. My mother was the youngest of three. My uncle Roy was the middle child, and my aunt Zona is the oldest. My uncle was angry and scared. My aunt was much older and would disappear with friends. My mother was mute. She was shy and deathly afraid of everything. But nothing or no one scared my mother more, than her father. He was angry and loud, my mother told me. She was scared of what he would say. My mom tells me of vivid memories of them all at the dinner table and her father yelling at my uncle Roy as he cried. I can’t help but have this horrible reflection, seeing myself in my uncle’s place and my own father in my grandfathers place. That was however the dynamic of my mothers family. My mom says no one ever uttered their problems. They acted as if everything was okay all the time. Little did they know that life doesn’t work that way.

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My mother, my aunt Zona and her daughter Caryle, and my great grandmother.

My grandfather had an inoperable brain tumor. The last days of his life were my mothers fondest memories of him. He was quiet and content she said. She remembers getting out of the shower one day, towel wrapped around her, hair messy and wet. She looked up and he was sitting at the table looking at her with a sweet smile. One day when her father walked up to her school, a boy made fun of my mothers father because he was bald and frail. I can’t possibly comprehend such hate and ignorance. My grandfather died when my mother was eleven. After that my mother became close to my grandma. She went to college for a little while but dropped out to be with her mother. There was still so much fear instilled in my mother. Fear, only a father can help their child concur. That wasn’t the relationship they had though. It was the opposite. So while my mother was now free from what scared her most, she still had other fears she would concur on her own. It was overwhelming getting jobs and meeting guys. Their eyes were on my mother all the time. She was very beautiful. My mother met my sisters father David, in Ohio. They married and had my sister on April 15th, 1988. My mom was happy to have a child. But she was not happy with David. He didn’t make my mother feel independent, or that she had a mind of her own. My mother desperately wanted to find her voice. They moved to Texas. They divorced and shortly after my mother met my dad at Chilis.

My mom was a waitress and my dad was a cook. My father gave my mother the one thing she had never received; unconditional love. He was in aw of her and would tell her that. My mother simply wasn’t used to this affection. It made her uncomfortable but also empowered her and gave her confidence. Not long after my parents were married and they had me and than my little brother two years later after me. My father was born in Mexico on January 14th, 1966. He moved to Texas with his mom when he was still very young. My father lost his father when he was a teenager much like my mother. His mother became attached to him. When he met my mom and decided to settle with her, it didn’t please my grandmother. She didn’t want her son taken away from her.

My mother and my father.

But when my brother and I came into the picture, it was a proud time for everyone. We got older everyday, and it became evident that my grandmothers involvement in our lives was more than my mother wanted. Especially the dynamic between my grandmother and my father. They would talk in Spanish and my mother would automatically be kicked out of the conversation. This happened on all outings, even at home. This was the time my parents and my grandmother all began talking to Chris our therapist I mentioned many blogs ago. It wasn’t working. It almost destroyed my parents marriage.

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My mother, my sister, my grandma.

I won’t go into anymore detail of my grandmother. She did contribute to a lot of my pain and insecurities growing up. But she has good intention. Her flaws are that she is just selfish and ignorant. When my mom saw the pain my grandmother was causing me, and that she could do nothing about it she projected the guilt onto herself. Things were rocky for a while. Depression medications were prescribed and a lot of therapy sessions were made. When I was around nine, we received news that my uncle had been diagnosed with cancer. My parents both flew to Ohio where he was staying with my moms mother. My uncle was unrecognizable. He died at a young age of 43. Not much younger then his father when he died of cancer at 41.

 

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Me, my grandmother, my brother, and my sister.

It was a uncomprehending loss for my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother. It gave us all the opportunity to reconnect to family on my mothers side. For a while there would be no word. I think it was just because my mother was afraid of running into her painful past. But my mother has a wonderfully close relationship with her sister, my aunt Zona. I didn’t get to see my uncle as often as I would have liked. I barely even knew him. And to be honest I don’t think anyone really did except his longtime girlfriend Sue. He was mysterious and insecure and fragile but he was also kind and humorous. My aunt thinks my brother looks a lot like him in some pictures. My mom does too.

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My brother. Don’t they look similar?

Even though I only remember my moms mother from my childhood, the picture I have of her is all that matters. She was a tough little thing. She gave the hardest hugs and kisses. She had a contagious laugh. And she loved my siblings and me unconditionally like any grandmother would. She developed a stroke one year. Shortly after that my grandmother passed away. The funeral was so hard for my brother and I. It was the first time we had been to one for someone close to us. It was another opportunity for families to reconnect and bond. We shared memories of my grandmother. My memories and love of her come from the little girl in me who remembers. I hope those memories find her in heaven.

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My grandmother burping my brother while I’ll burp my doll Rachel.

My mother still takes her medications every night. She still tells me how much she loves me and is still the person I can go to for everything. I laugh with her. I can get a drink with her now. She is my best friend. But she isn’t just my mother. She is an incredible woman. She is intelligent and kind. She is attentive to people and things around her. She is so much more than what she knows and I tell her that. The losses in my mothers life though great, gave my mother the ultimate sense of her presence. And what I mean is that all her life when she felt like she was nothing, she was and is living. She has a mind and she has the strength and ability to grieve loss, and to break from her cage. She is finding that out more and more everyday. Every chance I get I remind her and so does my father and siblings. We want to share her beautiful worth with the world.

 

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